Tags: Harry Reid | Chuck Schumer | Harry Reid | Democrats | fundraising

Strategists: Reid-Schumer Fundraising Team Could Shatter Records

Image: Strategists: Reid-Schumer Fundraising Team Could Shatter Records
(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 09:17 AM

Sen. Chuck Schumer, tagged to become the chamber's top Democrat in 2017, is also in line to become one its top fundraising powers and has developed a reputation of being able to squeeze money from many sources and willing to ask for funds from anyone, even Republicans.

"I would use the word 'relentless,'" Democratic lobbyist Tom Quinn told The Hill. "He knows every year what money is out there and how to reach it."

According to sources, the New York Democrat has several cellphones, and is often seen in the Capitol talking on them in his constant search for new donors. He's also been known to respond "you can do a little better than that" when handed a $25,000 check and for asking that contributions be sent by courier to avoid the "check in the mail" excuse, sources said.

Part of the reason for his success is because of his ties with New York's financial services industry, as well as to Hollywood and Silicon Valley. In addition, he's run the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) twice, in 2006 when Democrats won Senate control and in 2008 when they were elected to 60 seats, enough to block filibusters.

After Schumer took over in 2006, the DSCC's fundraising jumped from $89 million to $121 million. In 2008, he pushed fundraising totals to $163 million.

However, he does face a conflict. If Democrats regain control of the Senate in 2016, Schumer could become the majority leader. At any rate, he'll replace Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who is retiring, as the Senate's top Democrat in 2017.

But Reid isn't leaving soon, and prefers to remain the Senate's key person where fundraising is concerned, even though party strategists say Schumer could boost Democratic fundraising totals.

"This is a topic of conversation among a lot of us," said a Democratic strategist, who wished to remain anonymous. "Reid's not going to give up his fundraising piece. He cares about how he leaves things. He's been an integral force fundraising for Senate Majority PAC and the DSCC."

Others said that if Reid and Schumer join forces, they could bring in record-shattering amounts of cash.

"Moving forward, what we're going to get out of this cycle is both of them really charging hard on the fundraising piece," the strategist said. "They bring two separate worlds of fundraising together."

Reid has longstanding ties with the labor community, the insiders said, which can work well with Schumer's ties with tech and Wall Street.

Further, since Reid isn't seeking re-election, he plans to devote more time raising funds for Democrats in hopes of the party regaining the majority.

"If you ask me who the driving force will be, it's going to be Reid," a Democratic strategist with ties to the Senate Majority PAC, a political action committee devoted to helping Senate Democrats, told The Hill. "There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to focus all of his time on trying to win back the majority."

That PAC raised nearly $70 million in 2014, and is run by Reid's former chief of staff, Susan McCue, J.B. Poersch, who served as executive director of the DSCC from 2005 to 2010, and  Democratic operatives Craig Varoga and Rebecca Lambe, a former Reid senior adviser.

Despite Reid's ties, some strategists say Reid should turn over fundraising to Schumer, as many donors don't want to give to a politician who is retiring.

But another complained that Schumer did not do much more in 2014 than write a check for $1 million to the DSCC.

"He got a lot of attention for giving $1 million, but he was sitting on $13 million," the source told The Hill. "He didn't do much. He sits out bad election cycles. He was gone in 2010. He did a lot in 2012 when Democrats had a good year, but not in 2014."

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Sen. Chuck Schumer, tagged to become the chamber's top Democrat in 2017, is also in line to become one its top fundraising powers and has developed a reputation of being able to squeeze money from many sources and will ask for funds from anyone, even Republicans.
Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Democrats, fundraising
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2015-17-16
Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 09:17 AM
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