Tags: Iowa | Senate | Harkin | midterms | Braley | Ernst

Sen. Harkin: My Millions Aren't Going to Braley Campaign

Sen. Harkin: My Millions Aren't Going to Braley Campaign
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa. (David Greedy/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 October 2014 12:45 PM

Donors are being sought for Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley's struggling campaign to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, but the outgoing lawmaker is stubbornly holding onto his $2.4 million campaign war chest, saying he has other plans for the money.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, along with other key Democrats, have been appealing to Harkin to transfer money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) for the crucial race, reports Politico.

But instead, Harkin has told party leaders the money will be go to The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Further, he has complained about a ban on congressional earmarks preventing him from sending other funding to Drake University. The senator is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Harkin has been looking for a place to house his official papers after serving in the Senate for 30 years and the House of Representatives for a decade. Last year, he said he would not donate the papers to Iowa State University, his alma mater, choosing Drake instead.

Iowa is a key state in the Democrats' fight to maintain control of the Senate. But Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst is leading Braley in polls, and the DSCC says it needs more money to fight the race.

The committee has spent $6.6 million on the race, and one senior Democratic aide said that "it is ridiculous that Bruce Braley is getting outspent by Republicans when Tom Harkin is sitting on over $2 million in his campaign account."

Harkin refused comment, but Susannah Cernojevich, his spokeswoman, told Politico that "few people have worked harder or done more to help Congressman Braley than Tom Harkin."

She said that Harkin had headlined more than 20 Braley fundraisers and went to 20 other events to raise money for him and other Iowa Democrats.

His leadership PAC has also donated $10,000, said Cernojevich, and that he's raised more than $100,000 for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, she said Harkin hasn't announced how he plans to spend his leftover campaign funds.

Republicans need to win six states to take control of the Senate, and Harkin predicts Braley will win in November.

But Harkin's critics say he should follow the example of then-Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who made large cash transfers to the DSCC and the North Dakota Democratic Party to help Heidi Heitkamp hold that state's Senate seat.

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Donors are being sought for Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley's struggling campaign to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, but the outgoing lawmaker is stubbornly holding onto his $2.4 million campaign war chest, saying he has other plans for the money.
Iowa, Senate, Harkin, midterms, Braley, Ernst
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2014-45-17
Friday, 17 October 2014 12:45 PM
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