Democrats and Lieberman dig deep in their pockets for Harry Reid

Democrats and Lieberman dig deep in their pockets for Harry Reid

Democratic senators are donating generously to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE, but his biggest contributor is the one who often gives him a serious case of heartburn — independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.).

An examination of incumbent senators’ donations to Reid (D-Nev.) found Lieberman led the way with $14,000, coming from his two PACs.

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Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinLewandowski clashes with ABC host over whether Trump can fire Mueller Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate Judiciary reportedly drops Manafort subpoena | Kushner meets with House Intel | House passes Russia sanctions deal | What to watch at 'hacker summer camp' Manafort agrees to speak with investigators after subpoena MORE (D-Calif.) was the runner-up, chipping in $12,300. Twenty-two others gave $10,000 each, usually split into two $5,000 donations. 

Lieberman has given $30,000 overall during this election cycle, all to Democrats. The Democrat-turned-independent has been especially generous to those facing — or who faced — uphill reelection battles, such as Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Arlen Specter (Pa.). Lincoln is trailing in her race by double digits, while Specter lost his May primary bid. Dodd announced his retirement this spring after polls showed him trailing in Connecticut.

Lieberman’s largesse is notable since he and Reid appeared to have a rocky relationship in recent years, sparring over healthcare reform and Lieberman’s endorsement of Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTime for the Trump administration to pursue regime change in Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report McCain criticizes 'unclear' Trump transgender tweets MORE (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race.

But a Lieberman aide said that behind the scenes, the two senators have always been closer than many observers think.

“They really haven’t had friction,” the aide said. “They’ve always had a cordial relationship and a very open one too, so when they have differences they discuss it openly. That’s always been the case, even during the talk of the public option. I won’t deny they have differences, but they’ve always resolved them amicably. I would describe it as a warm friendship, not distant or professional relationship.”

And Lieberman could be seen as repaying Reid's generosity — the then-minority leader contributed $5,000 to Lieberman's 2006 reelection bid, through his PAC, in November 2005. Lieberman lost the Democratic primary that following May, but won reelection in November 2006 as an independent.

Plus, earlier this year, when Democratic senators wanted Reid to yank Lieberman’s chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Reid stood up for Lieberman and kept a crucial vote in the Democratic caucus.

Meanwhile, Reid holds a wide fundraising lead over Republican candidate Sharron Angle — he had $8.9 million cash on hand at the end of June, compared to her $1.8 million, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

The Hill analyzed Reid’s and Angle’s FEC reports from January 2009 to June 2010 and found that Reid has more contributions from lawmakers. 

He has received donations from 45 of his 59 Caucus members, totaling more than $300,000, while Angle has only received donations from 11 of the 41 incumbent Senate Republicans.

Notable non-political Reid donors included billionaire Warren Buffett, who contributed $17,000, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, whose political action committee kicked in $5,000.

Reid also received about $30,00 total from 11 current or former House Democrats, including Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Norm Dicks (Wash.), Tom Lantos (Calif.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Michael Honda (Calif.), Howard Berman (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), Billy Tauzin (La.), Joe Kennedy (Mass.), Robert Cramer (Ala.), and Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who subsequently became White House chief of staff.

Several Democrats donated to Reid in November or December 2008, therefore not showing up in the FEC reports for the 2009-2010 election cycle. Those include Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusOPINION | On Trump-Russia probe, don’t underestimate Sen. Chuck Grassley Lawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda MORE (Mont.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDems to unveil ‘better deal’ messaging campaign Monday Dem senator: Trump acting like he's still on ‘The Apprentice’ The next battle in the fight against human trafficking MORE (Minn.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate committee ignores Trump, House budgets in favor of 2017 funding levels Live coverage: Trump's FBI nominee questioned by senators AT&T, senators spar over customers' right to sue MORE (Vt.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (Ark.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowOvernight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding Senators urge quotas on Canadian lumber, consultations with Congress Kid Rock tweets poll showing him leading Senate race MORE (Mich.) and the newly-elected Mark WarnerMark WarnerGoogle announces million initiative for displaced workers Overnight Tech: House GOP wants to hear from tech CEOs on net neutrality | SEC eyes cryptocurrency | Elon Musk, Zuckerberg trade jabs over AI | Trump says Apple opening three plants in US Overnight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding MORE (Va.), all of whom donated $10,000. Sen. Robert CaseyBob CaseyDem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes Let’s not roll back bipartisan progress on global food security Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (Pa.) donated $5,000.

The only senators to not donate to Reid in either the 2007-08 or 2009-10 cycles: Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandJimmy Carter predicts US will eventually have single-payer healthcare system Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? MORE (N.Y.) and Edward Kaufman (Del.) Gillibrand and Kaufman were appointed to their seats in early 2009.

Bayh also indicated he will be giving to Democratic candidates down the stretch of the election season. Bayh gave $1 million this year to help elect Rep. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), who is running for Bayh’s seat. 

Angle, who has far fewer interpersonal relationships with incumbent GOP senators, has raised nearly $50,000 from Senate Republicans, including $5,000 each from GOP leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP rep. says McConnell is 'head of the swamp' Senate Dem: We’re trying to block a recess appointment to replace Sessions Trump predicts 'problems' for those voting against ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate Senate panel rejects Trump funding cuts on Energy Department programs MORE (Tenn.). Angle has fewer donations from lawmakers than Reid because she has only been the GOP nominee since early June, while Reid has been anticipating his race since late 2008.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said the NRSC stands ready to help encourage more GOP incumbents to donate to Angle.

“We encourage incumbent Republican Senators to donate to all of our candidates, and not just one or two,” Walsh said. “But the good news as far as Sharron’s campaign is concerned is that she’s done a fantastic job raising money on her own and unlike Reid, hasn’t needed to rely on folks in Washington.”

McConnell has said publicly that he does not plan to get involved further in the Reid-Angle race out of respect for a sometimes-followed Senate tradition against party leaders personally campaigning against each other. 

Angle’s donations also include $2,500 from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), $5,000 from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), $1,000 from former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), $1,500 from former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes and $1,000 from former Rep. Tom Tancreado (R-Colo.).

—This article was updated at 6:22 p.m. and at 6:20 p.m. on Aug. 31.