Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone told CNBC he would host his largest fundraiser to date for Democratic Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Mr Langone, who is a Republican, told Squawk Box that he respected the Democratic senator’s “guts and courage”.
“I’m going to have one of the biggest fundraisers I’ve ever had for him. He’s special. He’s precious. He’s a great American,” the executive said, despite having never contributed to one of Mr Manchin’s campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
So far this year, Mr Langone has given extensively to Republicans, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. He gave $36,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republicans’ campaign arm. He also donated an additional $5,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-affiliated political Super PAC committed to electing House Republicans.
The move comes as Mr Manchin, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate alongside Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, has faced increased pressure from his own party.
Plenty of progressive Democrats worry that Mr Manchin will oppose the party’s Build Back Better bill, a social welfare bill that would include provisions for home care for people with disabilities and elderly people, an expanded child tax credit, provisions to combat climate change and universal child care. Unlike the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed on Friday evening, Democrats, who only have a 50-seat majority with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker, want to sidestep a GOP filibuster by using a process called reconciliation.
But that means getting every Democratic senator on board and satisfying Mr Manchin, who hails from a state where former president Donald Trump won every county. He opposed the bill being $3.5 trillion, which many in his caucus such as Budget Committee Chairman Sen Bernie Sanders wanted.
In response, the White House and Democrats have pared the legislation to $1.75 trillion.
Last week, as House Democrats were debating whether to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and some progressives wanted assurance from him that he would support the Build Back Better bill, Mr Manchin urged Democrats to “quit playing games.”
Mr Manchin raised a total of $1,596,127.11 last fundraising quarter and has $5,387,857.68 in cash on hand. He is up for reelection in 2024, which means he will be at a significant disadvantage in a year when a Republican presidential candidate will be at the top of the ticket. CNBC reported that he has raised money fro Duke Energy, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, UBS Americas and PG&E.