Jeffrey Yass is Election Day’s biggest loser in Pennsylvania. (And Virginia. And Kentucky.)

Graphic by Francesca Daly, photograph of Jeff Yass courtesy of Marshall Segal via Flickr

By Sean Kitchen

November 9, 2023

Jeffrey Yass, who is Pennsylvania’s largest billionaire, invested money in six races across Pennsylvania and lost every one of them. The billionaire also went on to lose races in Kentucky and Virginia.

Pennsylvania’s largest billionaire, Jeffrey Yass, turned into Pennsylvania’s largest loser on Election Day.

Yass has a net worth of $28.5 billion thanks to his investments in TikTok and has used his wealth to become one of the largest Republican megadonors across the country.

The mega-billionaire moves his money through a network of political action committees (PACs) such as the Commonwealth Leaders Fund or the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund, which then goes on to help support right-wing Republicans throughout Pennsylvania.

This year his money backed Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Carolyn Carluccio and three other judges running for the Superior and Commonwealth Courts. His money also tried to stifle progressives in Philadelphia and Allegheny County.

Yass and the Commonwealth Leaders Fund lost every race they poured money into.

The Commonwealth Leaders Fund spent over $4 million supporting Carluccio’s failed bid for the Supreme Court and dumped over $1 million into supporting Maria Battista, Harry Smail and Megan Martin.

Martin, who was running for the Commonwealth Court, denied knowing who Jeffrey Yass was even though the Commonwealth Leaders Fund spent $500,000 supporting her race. She told the Patriot News that she never met or heard of Yass.

“I am not being bought by Jeffrey Yass. I’m not being bought by anyone,” Martin told the Patriot News. “I am my own person. I am running my campaign.”

The Leaders Fund spent over $230,000 supporting Joe Rockey for Allegheny County Executive. Rockey was defeated by former State Rep. Sara Innamorato for the office.

Then in Philadelphia, Yass donated $300,000 to a super PAC funded by local developers and business owners to stop Concilmember Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke from winning city council seats as members of the progressive third-party Working Families Party. Both Brooks and O’Rourke won their elections.

Yass also funded right-wing extremists in Kentucky and Virginia who went on to lose their races. The billionaire gave $6 million to a trio of PACs supporting Kentucky General Daniel Cameron’s failed campaign against incumbent governor Andy Beshear, and in Virginia, he gave $2 million to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC in an unsuccessful bid to flip the Virginia legislature.

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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