On September 13, Sean Hannity hosted North Carolina congressional candidate Ilario Pantano (R) and told him that "you belong in Congress, I'm very impressed." In an email, Pantano highlighted the Fox News exchange to raise campaign funds. The campaign also issued a press release yesterday calling the Hannity praise a "significant achievement."
Hannity has been a non-stop get out the vote machine for Republican candidates this election cycle. Briefly, Hannity has:
- fundraised for Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich; repeatedly referred to Kasich as "governor" and "soon-to-be governor"; and encouraged him to run in 2008.
- launched the candidacy of New York congressional candidate John Gomez by promising officials he would promote and fundraise for him.
- been thanked by Christine O'Donnell for his support.
- used his show as a fundraising venue for Sharron Angle.
- frequently hosted disgraced Fox News contributor Dick Morris to encourage viewers to donate to Republican candidates.
- offered campaign messages for Republicans, such as running on "not apologizing for America"
- keynoted a March fundraiser for the NRCC, which reportedly raised $7 million.
(Again, that's Hannity's political activism in brief.)
As Media Matters has documented, Republicans have acknowledged that Fox News plays an important role in their electoral chances. Republicans also regularly mention Fox News in soliciting support to their causes - online and off.
From Pantano's email:
Just the other day, Sean Hannity said to me on primetime news, "You belong in Congress. I'm very impressed." And America is taking notice.
In the last 7 days the tide has turned -- Sean Hannity told me on prime time news that he's impressed and I deserve to be in Congress, new polls show me with a 7-point lead among highly likely voters, the NRCC named me a "Young Gun" and committed to funding a $45,000 ad buy in my district. Help me capitalize on this momentum by matching the NRCC ad buy to keep the new television spot live. Please follow this link right now to make a contribution of $45, $50 or whatever you can afford up to the $2,400 limit? Every dollar counts and will go a long way toward victory. Thank you.