John Bolton on Friday is set to announce donations totaling $100,000 to 16 Republicans running for Congress in 2016, including 15 incumbents and one open seat Senate candidate.
Bolton, a foreign policy hawk and former United Nations ambassador under President George W. Bush, is making the donations through his political action committee. The money constitutes an official endorsement of the eight incumbent GOP House members, seven incumbent GOP senators and Rep. Joe Heck, the Nevada Republican who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.
"These senators and representatives have a proven track record of sponsoring and voting for legislation that promotes and protects America's interests abroad," Bolton said in press release shared with the Washington Examiner.
Bolton, who last year flirted with running for president, also contributed $10,000 to the New Hampshire GOP to help underwrite the cost of an upcoming presidential candidate forum the state party is sponsoring. He remains neutral in the Republican presidential primary, but hasn't ruled out endorsing a candidate down the line.
Candidates whose campaign committees Bolton's PAC is donating to include Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina; Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois; Sen. John McCain of Arizona; Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Senate Republicans can use all the help they can get. Their five-seat majority is vulnerable in this year's elections, especially if their party nominates a presidential candidate who diminishes the GOP brand. Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are solid blue states in presidential cycles; New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio are swing states when the White House is contested. Nevada, where Heck is trying to pick off a Democratic seat, also is a battleground.
On the House side, Bolton is endorsing Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado; Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia; Rep. Bob Dold of Illinois; Rep. Will Hurd of Texas; Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona; and New York Reps. John Katko; Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin. The Republicans' House majority should be safe regardless of how the presidential election turns out. But these congressional districts aren't sure holds for the incumbents.
For example, Coffman represents a multi-ethnic seat near Denver; he was a top Democratic target in 2014 and likely will be again (President Obama won Colorado twice.) Meanwhile, McSally only won her southern Arizona district by 167 votes despite what a banner year it was for Republicans across the country. Dold and Katko both face re-election in seats that lean Democratic in their voting habits. Comstock, Stefanik and Zeldin represent competitively drawn districts.