Clinton's Lead Hurts Senate Democrats' Fundraising

Image: Clinton's Lead Hurts Senate Democrats' Fundraising

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 08:52 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The overwhelming support for a 2016 White House run by Hillary Clinton is fueling Democrats' concerns that it could hurt the financial resources of the party's Senate candidates in the November elections.

Democrats are facing an uphill battle in the midterm elections, and are in danger of losing their current 55-45 majority over the Republicans. And many in the party fear that the burgeoning strength of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA could siphon off money that is vital to maintaining their lead, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Senate Democratic hopefuls, as well as the party's candidates in the House, are seeking cash donors through super PACs and their regular fundraising committee drives.

Even Priorities USA is concerned that donor money will go straight to its Clinton fundraising efforts instead of to other Democrats. It is mulling a plan to ask donors to send in their biggest checks after the midterms, the Journal says.

Insiders says  Priorities USA might ask a wealthy donor, for instance, to pledge a $1 million over the next few years but hand over just $100,000 this year.

"My goal is to not have donors honestly say, 'I can't send money to you, House and Senate [candidates], because I'm giving all this money to Priorities,'" the Journal quotes one source from the PAC as saying.

Former Secretary of State Clinton, who has not yet announced whether she will make a White House run, is the clear favorite in the potential race for the Democratic nomination.

A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed that Clinton was leading Vice President Joe Biden by a wide margin, 65 percent to 8 percent, as their favored candidate for president in 2016, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in third place with 7 percent, and others with 21 percent.

In a similar Washington Post-ABC News poll, the former first lady led Biden by 73 percent to 12 percent, with Warren receiving 8 percent, and 7 percent for others.

It appears as though Clinton is running away with the race before it has even started, and that does not sit well with some worried Democrats.

They fear that without a close challenger there won't be a real debate on key policy issues such as government surveillance and preventing Iran getting a nuclear weapon, in front of voters, the Journal reports.

"We need a vibrant, competitive primary process where not only can people sharpen their positions on different issues, but also get ready for what's going to come in the fall, which is going to be brutal," said Dick Harpootlian, a former Democratic chairman in South Carolina, a state which traditionally holds one of the early presidential primaries.

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