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 Mason ReidSenate hopefuls embrace nuking filibuster Biden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary 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 Emiel FeinsteinBiden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children Progressive groups ask for town hall with Feinstein to talk filibuster 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 Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey 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 Sieben BaucusCryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' Bottom line Bottom line MORE (Mont.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Competition laws could be a death knell for startup mergers and acquisitions Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises MORE (Minn.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Senate unanimously passes bill to strengthen crime victims fund MORE (Vt.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorBottom line Everybody wants Joe Manchin Cotton glides to reelection in Arkansas MORE (Ark.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSchumer: Democrats considering option to pay for all of infrastructure agenda Democrats closing in on deal to unlock massive infrastructure bill Senate plants a seed for bipartisan climate solutions MORE (Mich.) and the newly-elected Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers Hillicon Valley: Senators introduce bill to require some cyber incident reporting | UK citizen arrested in connection to 2020 Twitter hack | Officials warn of cyber vulnerabilities in water systems MORE (Va.), all of whom donated $10,000. Sen. Robert CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyLawmakers introduce bipartisan Free Britney Act A plan to address the growing orphaned wells crisis Free Britney movement calls for congressional hearing ahead of DC rally 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 GillibrandSenators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellS.E. Cupp: 'The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives' Poll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat  Business groups urge lawmakers to stick with bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain 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.