Schumer cutting monster checks to help out fellow Senate Democrats

Schumer cutting monster checks to help out fellow Senate Democrats

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) has gone on a late-season spending spree to help Democratic candidates.

A new campaign finance report shows Schumer cut two checks to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) worth $1 million each in September.

He has also poured money from his campaign account into state parties around the country. Friends of Schumer gave $250,000 to the Nevada State Democratic Party on Sept. 7, a crucial boost to embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info Poll: 47 percent back limits on Senate filibuster MORE (D-Nev.).

ADVERTISEMENT

Schumer's donations are sure to raise eyebrows because he himself is up for re-election this year, albeit against weak opposition. He is also widely expected to run for Senate Democratic leader if Reid loses his race in Nevada.

The gifts cement Schumer’s position as the Senate Democrats' biggest financial backer, and could make a difference if he makes a bid to lead Senate Democrats in the 112th Congress. Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Pressley on Kavanaugh impeachment: 'Deeply disturbing' that a justice 'could have this many allegations' MORE (D-Ill.) is seen as the other favorite to succeed Reid.

Schumer’s campaign also gave $25,000 to the Alaska Democratic Party, $50,000 to the Colorado Democratic Party, $50,000 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and $50,000 to the Washington State Democratic Party, according to a report filed Wednesday.

The contributions were all made at the end of September and will help incumbents in tough races such as Sens. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Bennet launches first TV ads in Iowa MORE (D-Colo.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayEXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball MORE (D-Was.).

Schumer also gave generously to help incumbents who are not considered in danger, such as Sens. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE (D-Md.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats press for action on election security The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine MORE (D-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats press for action on election security Interior gains new watchdog On The Money: NY prosecutors subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns | Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms | Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum | Trump faces dwindling leverage with China MORE (D-Ore.).

In late September, Schumer's campaign gave $50,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee of Maryland, $25,000 to the Democratic Party of Oregon, and $20,000 to the Vermont Democratic Party.

He has given a total of $3 million to the DSCC this cycle.

A fundraising report filed Wednesday shows that Schumer gave the committee a $1 million gift from his campaign account on Sept. 14 and a second $1 million gift on Sept. 29.

DSCC Chairman Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.J.) announced in mid-September that Schumer had made the Sept. 14 donation.

Schumer transferred the first $1 million from Friends of Schumer in August.

The New York senator reported $23.2 million in his personal campaign war chest at the end of Aug. Friends of Schumer reported $19.3 million in cash on hand at the end of September.

Speculation over a potential race for leader between Durbin and Schumer, the vice chairman of the Democratic conference, has intensified in recent days.

“While the public chatter of succession battle has died down, there’s a lot of scheming behind the scenes,” said a Democratic lobbyist who focuses on the Senate.

“It’s very possible that Reid could lose,” said the lobbyist. Reid is tied in the polls with his conservative challenger, Sharron Angle.

Reid didn’t help his cause by turning in what political experts viewed as a mediocre performance during his debate with Angle last week.

While Reid has focused on his race with Angle, Schumer and Durbin have taken the lead on helping Senate Democratic candidates around the country this fall.

From this past weekend through Election Day, Durbin is scheduled to host, headline or appear at campaign events in California, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. His scheduler is trying to lock down another four events.

Both Durbin and Schumer have lavished hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions on Senate colleagues and candidates this election cycle. 

The gifts are highly appreciated in a campaign year when Democratic candidates have seen a record number of corporate-funded attack ads because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

Durbin has doled out $400,000 to Senate candidates and the state parties working to help them through his leadership political action committee, Prairie PAC, according a review of fundraising records going back to Election Day 2008. The most recent report covered the period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 13.

He has given the DSCC $30,000 from his leadership PAC and transferred $430,000 to the committee from his personal campaign account.

Durbin has also hosted nearly a dozen events for Senate Democratic candidates and the DSCC in Chicago this year.

Schumer has given $390,000 from his leadership PAC, Impact, to help Senate Democratic candidates this cycle, according to reports covering the period from Election Day 2008 to Oct. 13 of this year.

These contributions will be among the factors Democratic senators weigh if Durbin and Schumer square off in a race for Senate majority leader.

Talk of a potential race between Durbin and Schumer quieted over the summer after Angle won the Nevada GOP primary in June. Political experts thought Angle would be a weak opponent because of her penchant for controversial statements, but Reid has struggled to boost his approval rating much above 40 percent.

Conservatives have poured money into Nevada to defeat Reid. Angle reported raising a jaw-dropping $14 million in the third quarter of this year.

Reid’s debate against Angle gave his supporters more cause for concern.

“Sharron Angle won The Big Debate,” Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston wrote in the Las Vegas Sun. “She won because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looked as if he could barely stay on a linear argument, abruptly switching gears and failing to effectively parry or thrust."