Kwik Trip CEO Don Zietlow has injected $84,500 into Republican Party coffers across several key states in the final weeks of the general election campaign, while Don Weber has donated $30,000 over the same period.
Weber, the founder of Logistics Health Incorporated, and Kwik Trip’s Zietlow are two of the La Crosse region’s wealthiest businessmen and big donors to Republican candidates and fundraising committees.
In the final stretch of the election campaign, Zietlow gave $10,000 each to state Republican Parties in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, Alabama, Kentucky and Illinois, plus $4,500 to the Republican Party of Louisiana. Weber also gave $10,000 each to the Arizona, Colorado and Alabama Republican Parties. All the numbers are from the Federal Election Commission and are for donations reported in late September and early October.
While Zietlow and Weber remain reliable big money donors for the GOP, one name is missing from their donations in 2020: Donald Trump. Zietlow donated $130,000 to Trump’s election bid in 2016, and then added another $40,000 in 2017 while Weber gave $121,000 to the Trump Victory Committee in 2016. But since then, barring a late donation, both men appear to have decided against giving directly to Trump or one of the fundraising committees exclusively supporting his reelection this year.
An analysis by the New York Times in August found that only a small percentage of Trump’s richest donors from 2016 had backed him financially in the 2020 cycle, which is one reason why Joe Biden has been able to build up a huge fundraising lead over his opponent.
Trump’s erratic and divisive outbursts and general unpopularity appear to have made at least some of those wealthy donors wary of being associated with his brand in 2020. That’s despite the fact that Trump has delivered on a major upward redistribution of wealth through his 2017 tax cuts.
One mega-donor with local links who remains unafraid of being connected to Trump is Ron Wanek, the founder and chairman of the board of Ashley Furniture, which is headquartered in Arcadia. Wanek gave $250,000 to the Trump Victory committee in March. Over the months of September and October, Wanek also pumped $150,000 into state Republican Parties across a host of states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and North Carolina.
By Eric Timmons. Email questions or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Top photo credit: Donald Trump abroad Air Force One. Public Domain
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