Celebs Back Clooney's Pop

Some of Hollywood's top draws, including Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Renee Zellweger, "Friends" cast member Courteney Cox Arquette and actress Drew Barrymore, are playing supporting roles in the candidacy of a Kentucky Democrat.

Their choice: Nick Clooney (search), father of actor George and brother of the late actress/singer Rosemary.

The 70-year-old Nick Clooney, a former television anchor and newspaper columnist, raised nearly $500,000 in the first three months of this year, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (search).

A good chunk of the cash came from Hollywood's "A" list.

George Clooney's former cast members from NBC's "ER," such as Noah Wyle, donated to Nick Clooney's campaign. So did Zellweger, Oscar winner for "Cold Mountain" who once was romantically linked to George, actor/producer Douglas, Arquette and Barrymore. Filmmakers Harvey and Bob Weinstein of Miramax also gave to the Kentucky Democrat.

Nick Clooney, a self-described "commonsense Democrat" who opposes abortion (search) and supports the rights of gun owners, raised more money in the quarter ending March 31 than the three Republican candidates combined.

Clooney hopes to succeed Democratic incumbent Ken Lucas (search), who is retiring after three terms representing the 4th Congressional District, which snakes along the Ohio river and includes much of the northern Kentucky suburbs near Cincinnati. Republicans say the race represents one of their best chances to pick up a Democratic seat.

Nick Clooney could not be reached for comment Friday. Last month, he said he was grateful for his son's help, saying it showed "this is more than just politics. We still matter to one another."

Republicans have argued that Nick Clooney could be hurt politically by his son's liberal views. George Clooney (search) declined, through a spokesman, to comment Friday, but in a letter published in the Cincinnati Enquirer last Sunday, said, "It seems the best way to campaign against my father is to go after me."

George Clooney added that he and his dad have political differences and that his father "has earned the right to be judged on his own merits."

The Republicans vying for the GOP nomination are business consultant Geoff Davis, lawyer Kevin Murphy and chiropractor John Kelly King. Davis, who lost to Lucas two years ago, has the most money on hand, about $600,000.