Clooney Comes to Bat for Dad's Campaign

03/22/2004 AT 01:40 PM EST

Father's Day came early this weekend in Louisville, Ky., where George Clooney helped raise more than $200,000 for his dad, former TV personality Nick Clooney, in his bid to win the 4th District congressional seat, say reports.

In a series of weekend events, reports the Associated Press, about 150 people paid $250 each to mingle with one of PEOPLE's Sexiest Men Alive at a restaurant in Fort Mitchell; another 100 paid $1,000 each to meet him in a private home; and another 100 shelled out $1,000 each at a Louisville reception that included a photographer, notes the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"It's great having my son come in to help," said the elder Clooney, 70, as quoted by AP. "It's family. When my son and my daughter show up and help me, it means a lot and it shows me this is more than just politics. We still matter to one another."

Nick Clooney, a former Cincinnati newscaster and host of American Movie Classics (and brother to late singing legend Rosemary Clooney), is said to need from $1.2 million to $1.4 million for the race. Among his supporters, besides his son, is the current incumbent, U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, who is retiring.

And while the "Ocean's 11" star, 42, was a high-profile presence this weekend, he gave no interviews, said the Courier-Journal, reporting that the gesture is meant to reflect the campaign's desire to focus on Nick -- the only Democrat in the race -- and not on his stellar son.

"Our position is that Nick is his own man," Bob Doyle, the Clooney campaign's Washington-based general consultant, told the newspaper. "George is doing this because he's a son who loves his dad and wants his dad to succeed, and we know voters in this district will not confuse the two."

On the other hand, Justin Brasell, campaign manager for Republican rival Geoff Davis, says: "They can't win without George, because Nick can't raise the money on his own. And they might not be able to win with George, because he's so controversial."

Among his liberal stances, George Clooney has said in interviews that he considers President Bush "dim."
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