The 2016 presidential race was a brutal one. With the campaigns on both sides leveling personal attacks and the U.S. electorate more polarized than at any time in living memory, the campaign engendered a great deal of animosity, distrust and outright hate.
It was also one of the most heavily financed campaigns in U.S. history. Much of this money was spent on the Clinton side, with wealthy donors lining up to pay their tribute to their favorite candidate. One of these donors was George Soros, who donated more than $25 million to the doomed Clinton campaign. Needless to say, this investment did not show a great return.
But Soros is not one in the habit of losing. He quickly regrouped, deploying capital to a number of pivotal races throughout the Southern United States. One of these was the race for the district attorney post in Orlando, Florida. This race saw veteran incumbent Jeff Ashton face off against newcomer Aramis Ayala. Ayala was running as the first African American female prosecutor in the history of the state of Florida. She had her work cut out for her. As a newcomer with virtually no money to spend on her campaign, she stood little chance against the long entrenched incumbent, Ashton, who was well-connected and had access to campaign fund for his relationships with local businessmen and politicians. Things were not looking up for Ayala.
But then Soros stepped in, through The Open Society Foundations, and infused the Ayala campaign with over $1,000,000. He also provided expertise and high-level strategic consultancy, guiding Ayala’s campaign with professional level strategists. This gave Ayala a sudden advantage. With the ability to run almost nonstop television campaign ads, Ayala got the decisive leg up. In the end, she defeated Ashton in a landslide, becoming the first African American prosecutor in the state of Florida’s history, as well as giving hope to Orlando minorities, who had suffered extreme disparities in sentencing and charging under the Ashton regime. Read more on nytimes.com
Another example of Soros’ largess leading to an upset victory in a prosecutorial race occurred when he backed a candidate in Mississippi named Scott Colom. Like Ayala, Colom was also a progressive prosecutorial candidate, vowing to change the rate at which minorities are prosecuted and convicted of crimes within his jurisdiction. Like in the case of Aramis, the incumbent, who he ultimately upset, was known for sending minorities to prison at drastically disparate rates from their white counterparts.
George Soros has also been active in various sheriffs’ races across the nation. Perhaps most famous of these is Soros’ backing of candidate Mike Penzone and his race against incumbent sheriff Joe Arpaio. This was yet another major victory for the Soros political machine.