April 4, 2024

By Alex Isenstadt


House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik raked in more than $7 million during the first quarter of the year, fueled by her support from prominent Jewish Republicans in the wake of her grilling of university presidents over campus antisemitism.

The figure is the most that Stefanik, the fourth-ranking House Republican, has ever raised in a single quarter across her political operation, including her campaign and leadership PAC. The New York lawmaker’s campaign itself drew contributions from 70,000 donors giving an average donation of $21, according to a person familiar with the totals and granted anonymity to speak freely. (Some donors gave more than once.) By comparison, Stefanik raised $5 million during the fourth quarter of 2023 and $3 million the quarter before that.

Stefanik drew attention in December for pressing the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The confrontation, which occurred during a hearing of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, was followed by the resignations of Harvard President Claudine Gay and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill.

Stefanik has drawn support from big Republican donors in recent months. Her biggest check came from cosmetics company heir Ron Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, who gave $300,000 to a Stefanik joint fundraising committee. Another donor was investor Marc Rowan, who had pushed for the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater, to force out Magill. Rowan’s firm, Apollo Global Management, also hosted a fundraiser for Stefanik in Washington. Casino billionaire Steve Wynn contributed to Stefanik and hosted an event for her in Palm Beach, Fla.

Two other prominent Jewish Republicans, Blackstone Group executives Wayne Berman and Stephen Schwarzman, also donated. David Friedman, who was former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, hosted a fundraising event for her. Stefanik has also recently met with Paul Singer, a New York hedge fund billionaire who is a major supporter of pro-Israel causes.

Republican Jewish Coalition Chief Executive Officer Matt Brooks praised Stefanik in a statement, saying that she “stands strongly with the Jewish people and her work to hold university presidents accountable for enabling antisemitism has been seen around the world.”

Stefanik has emerged as a prominent figure in Trump’s orbit and been mentioned as a prospective vice presidential running mate. She has been forging relationships with some of Trump’s top donors. Last week, she met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate with Ike Perlmutter, the Israeli-born former Marvel Entertainment executive and frequent Trump dinner companion. Perlmutter’s wife, Laurie, was listed as a co-host of the event Wynn organized.

The 39-year-old Stefanik has long been a favorite of the big donor set, dating back to her first election a decade ago. A pro-Stefanik super PAC formed that election cycle received backing from Republican mega-donors including Singer, WWE co-founder Linda McMahon and investor Charles Schwab.

Overall, Stefanik’s political operation has raised about $20 million this cycle, which she has spread out to her campaign, candidates she supports, GOP committees and New York Republicans.