Hedge Fund Candidates Lose Despite Republican Wave

Nov 3 2010 | 10:34am ET

While yesterday's midterm elections were a bloodbath for Democrats, who lost control of the House of Representatives and only narrowly held on to the Senate, the results for prominent Republican candidates with alternative investments ties were not nearly so good.

Two former hedge fund managers running on the GOP ticket in high-profile New York area races were 0-for-2. Former Silver Point Partners executive Harry Wilson went down to defeat at the hands of incumbent New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, while Copper Arch Capital founder Scott Sipprelle failed to oust Rep. Rush Holt in suburban New Jersey's 12th congressional district.

Holt took 53% of the vote to Sipprelle's 46%. The latter's Wall Street ties may have doomed him despite the favorable environment nationally for Republicans.

Meanwhile, in neighboring New York, Wilson's Wall Street resume was widely thought to be a boon competing for a job that includes stewardship of New York's public pension fund. But despite the endorsement of nearly every major newspaper in the state, Wilson couldn't topple DiNapoli, who was seeking election to the office after being appointed to it following his predecessor's resignation.

With 94% of the vote in, DiNapoli had 50.1% to Wilson's 46.7%, making New York a bright spot on a very dark night for Democrats: The party swept all statewide races in the Empire State, although Republicans did pick up five seats in Congress in the state.

One of those winners is the closest to a victorious hedge fund candidate that can be found on Election Night 2010: Michael Grimm, who was not a hedge fund manager but played one as a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. Grimm took out Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon in the Staten Island-based 13th New York congressional district.

Two other Republicans who received major support from top hedge fund managers also failed to win their races. Art Robinson, seeking to unseat Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, lost 54% to 45%, despite the assistance of a political action committee funded in large part by Renaissance Technologies co-chief Robert Mercer.

In New York, Paul Singer's money couldn't help Republican Daniel Donovan become the state's next attorney general. The Elliott Management founder provided some one-quarter of all of Donovan's campaign funds, but the Staten Island district attorney fell with 43% to State Senator Eric Schneiderman's 55%.

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