Senate Candidate Hill Harper Claims He Rejected $20 Million To Run Against Rashida Tlaib



Actor and Democratic Senate candidate Hill Harper alleged Wednesday a political donor offered him $20 million if he dropped out of next year’s Senate race to run against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who was censured by the House this month over a series of comments condemning Israel and its military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Key Facts

Harper tweeted about the offer after Politico reported that donor Linden Nelson offered $20 million to Harper, allocating half of it in donations to his campaign and the other half for independent expenditures.

Harper, who said in the post he “didn’t intend for a private phone call to turn public,” did not identify Nelson by name, but said the offer was made by a major American Israel Public Affairs Committee donor, adding he declined the offer.

AIPAC told Forbes it was not involved in any way with the offer and that its records indicated the “individual has not contributed to AIPAC in over a decade.”

Harper, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), called for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza earlier this month.

Nelson, who has made contributions to Republicans and Democrats, did not comment to Politico, which said he didn’t respond to subsequent inquiries after ending a call with the news outlet after a few seconds.

Tlaib’s office did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.

Crucial Quote

“I said no. I won’t be bossed, bullied, or bought,” Harper said in the post, adding in a reply that “telling the truth here will put a target on my back. But if we ALL come together, we can win.”

What To Watch For

Harper, an actor known for his roles on “CSI:NY” and “The Good Doctor,” has struggled to gain momentum against Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who leads in polling and fundraising for a spot in the Senate, according to Politico.

Key Background

Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, represents the Detroit area. She was censured by the House on Nov. 7 over comments she made following Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent war in Gaza. She has called Israel an “apartheid government,” attributed the violence to the U.S.’s financial backing of Israel and posted a video that showed protesters chanting the controversial pro-Palestinian slogan “from the river to the sea.” Tlaib has stood firm, publishing a statement Wednesday in which she said a deal between Israel and Hamas to pause fighting in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages was not enough and that a permanent cease-fire agreement was needed. More than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more have been displaced, Gaza’s Hamas-run government says, while some 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’ attack on Israel.


A political adviser who represents billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and others reached out to the centrist Mainstream Democrats PAC this month about financing a primary challenge to Tlaib. The adviser, Dmitri Mehlhorn, told Forbes the outreach was “generic” and not specifically linked to Hoffman, but cited Tlaib’s “inability to condemn” Hamas’ attack on Israel. He also brought up her refusal to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s “role in supporting Gaza civilians during this Israeli response,” a reference to U.S. aid for those affected by Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Further Reading

Donor allegedly offered $20M to recruit a Tlaib primary challenger (Politico)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Censured Over Controversial Israel Comments — With The Help Of Multiple Democrats (Forbes)


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