Sen. Josh Hawley has leveraged his starring role in the events of Jan. 6 into a campaign windfall, new data suggest.
The Missouri Republican’s campaign brought in more than $3 million in the first three months of 2021, more than any other quarter since he ran for Senate, and donations appear to have surged in the weeks after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Hawley raised more than $341,000 on the Republican digital fundraising platform WinRed during a two-week period from the days before the insurrection to its immediate aftermath, according to a Federal Election Commission report released this week. This was the best period of small donor fundraising on WinRed for Hawley during the first quarter of 2021.
Hawley had helped ex-president Donald Trump hype Jan. 6 as a pivotal day in Trump’s quest to remain in office, despite his loss to Joe Biden in the November election. The freshman senator was the first to announce that he would object to the certification of the Electoral College votes and even said Trump’s fate ”depends on what happens” that day.
Hawley also sent out fundraising pleas in the run-up to the riot, saying he planned to object but that he needed “help” in the form of campaign contributions. “We must ensure that ONE VOTE means ONE VOTE in America,” he declared in a WinRed appeal before Jan. 6, echoing Trump’s lies that the election was stolen.
As the insurrectionists breached the Capitol grounds, Hawley’s campaign sent out another money request. “Hi, I’m Josh Hawley. I am leading the charge to fight for free and fair elections,” it said. This came after Hawley lifted a fist in support of the insurrectionists outside of the Capitol before they breached police barricades, wounding one officer who would later die.
In the aftermath of the attack, Republicans and Democrats alike condemned Hawley for undermining confidence in the election and saying Congress could undo it. Big donors shied away from him as well. But he was still able to cash in by appealing to Trump’s base, casting himself a victim for supporting Trump’s lies and affirming the views of the insurrectionists.
To be clear, the more than $341,000 Hawley raised through WinRed during and in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection is just 11% of the total he raised in the first three months of the year. Of Hawley’s total $3 million haul in the first quarter, he raised at least $1.7 million from donations less than $200. Since these small donations are not itemized in public FEC reports, there are no date to indicate whether these small-dollar donations spiked around the time of the insurrection or not.
Most of the donations came from outside Missouri, the Kansas City Star reported.
Hawley turned the calls for resignation into part of his personal brand ― a Trump-loving Republican who stands up to left-wing “mobs” when they try to “cancel” him. In addition to filling his campaign coffers, the riot has boosted his national profile and name recognition among voters. He has become a regular on Fox News, where hosts lavish him with praise.
During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, he retold the story of how he’d objected to the election, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
“I said, ‘I want to have a debate on election integrity,’” Hawley said. “And what was the result of that? Oh, you know what the result was. I was called a traitor. I was called a seditionist. The radical left said I should resign, and if I wouldn’t resign, I should be expelled from the United States Senate.”
It’s all true, except he left out the part about a deadly mob storming the Capitol.