The man once portrayed by Justin Timberlake is known for his large donations to Democrats, but is now focusing on Republican voters in Mississippi.
Mississippi is in the rare position of having two US Senate seats on the table in the upcoming November election. Long time Republican incumbent Roger Wicker will face Democratic challenger David Baria in the regularly scheduled general election. A second special election will take place on the same ballot to fill the seat once occupied by Thad Chocran, who retired earlier this spring.
Gov. Phil Bryant (R) appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to hold the Cochran seat until the November election. Hyde-Smith is a former Democrat that switched to the Republican Party while serving in the Mississippi state legislature.
Hyde-Smith’s biggest challenger is conservative State Senator Chris McDaniel, who came close to defeating Cochran in the 2014 Republican Primary after receiving the endorsement of Donald Trump. While Hyde-Smith maintains she is a conservative Republican, recent filings show her campaign is receiving major backing by liberal billionaire Sean Parker.
Parker is best known for co-founding Napster and Facebook. He was once portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the movie The Social Network.
Over the years, Parker has used his money to push the liberal agenda, including a $300,000 donation to help get Hillary Clinton to the White House. He teamed up with former Vice President Al Gore in 2012 to help progressive candidates gain more traction online and has written checks for hundreds of thousands to several Democrat candidates at the state level.
Parker’s most recent contribution is raising eyebrows. The liberal entrepreneur recently donated a quarter million dollars to the Mississippi Victory Fund, a PAC that is dedicated to keeping Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith in Washington.
Some speculate Parker’s involvement is to ensure the more conservative candidate does not win in November. “One thing is for sure: Sean Parker knows Chris McDaniel is dangerous to his cause of advancing liberalism,” Ryan Walters wrote in an op-ed on Mississippi Conservative Daily. Walters says Hyde-Smith is the anti-gun “Establishment’s choice” and Parker may be backing her as a way of keeping McDaniel out of the Senate. “He knows McDaniel can’t be bought and is a rock-solid supporter of the Second Amendment, concealed carry, open carry, and will not support any gun control measures.”
Republicans Cindy Hyde-Smith and Chris McDaniel will appear on the Nov 6 special election ballot, along with Democrats Mike Espy and Toby Bartee. Mississippi law states the victor must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be declared the winner. If no candidate reaches that plateau, a runoff election will be held November 27 between the top two vote-getters.