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It's Hard Out Here For an NRSC Chair

by: James L.

Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 1:39 PM EDT

From The Hill:

Republican senators with millions of dollars in their campaign accounts have given little or nothing to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), despite its desperate pleas for cash funds.

Fewer than 10 Senate Republicans met goals they received for an NRSC fundraiser with President Bush in McLean, Va., Tuesday evening. GOP senators were asked to contribute $100,000 from their campaign accounts or recruit four major donors for the event. [...]

Republican Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Pete Domenici (N.M.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Tom Coburn (Okla.), and Larry Craig (Idaho) have given nothing to the NRSC, according to campaign finance data collected by the Federal Election Commission and CQ Money Line, a website that tracks fundraising.

These lawmakers have kept their wallets shut despite having millions and not facing reelection this year. Specter, for example, reported $4.2 million in his war chest. Lugar has $2.2 million in his account. Domenici has $840,000 and has announced his retirement. [...]

During a recent interview with The Hill, Ensign said about half the Senate's 49 Republicans were "not even close" to the pace needed to meet their fundraising goals. Ensign has asked members to raise $750,000-$3 million depending on seniority, leadership positions, and committee assignments.

"We've tried fear, we've tried positive reward, positive reinforcement, we've tried being a little harder on them, we use different things at different times - begging, we beg a lot," he said.

But NRSC officials often hear excuses in response.

"I think they're all pathetic excuses, but that's just my own take on it," Ensign told The Hill only half-jokingly.

Have you tried getting on your knees, John?

Even worse, look at Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who isn't even up for re-election this year.  With $13 million sitting in his campaign fund, the Senator has not surrendered a dime of it to the NRSC.  Instead, he's given a meager $15K from his leadership PAC.  It's like he wants the GOP to lose seats.

James L. :: It's Hard Out Here For an NRSC Chair
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That's what I don't get
Do the Senate Republicans want to be irrelevant next year?  They have the money to donate, especially Snowe and Lugar, who have those seats until they retire, they could raise and spend $500,000 and win hands down.  And Shelby, he could donate $10 million himself, which could probably save 2-4 seats alone.  

It's almost as if the Republicans want to lose everything and rely on McCain to be our pain in the ass.

Shelby Probably
has a committee assignment he wants, and figures if some of his republican colleagues lose he may be able to pick it up. Look for him to send over like a million or two in the last couple weeks just not to look like a complete jackass.

But yeah, they are doomed its just a matter of how many Senate Seats we pickup.

What is especially hilarious in the article is that fact that
by contrast, even Joe Lieberman has contributed to the DSCC.  He gave $100,000 last December.  In addition, a number of Senators, whom the netroots often criticize for bucking the party on controversial votes also ponied up, including Dianne Feinstein, Blanche Lincoln and Tom Carper.

Any Democrat
... is better than any Repub, almost always. Not so sure that I'd say that about Senators from the Connecticut for Lieberman Senator, but hell, I'll take his contribution!

[ Parent ]
I'm sure there's a backstory here, but I don't get what it could be.
1) can Senators give unlimited contributions directly to other Senators?  Say Gordon Smith finds himself in a very tight race in September; can Specter or Shelby just give him two million dollars?  Because then it would make sense for them to save their money so they can dole it out personally in exchange for I.O.Us, instead of giving it to Ensign so the I.O.U.s go from Smith to Ensign instead.

2) Apparently they can give unlimited contributions to the NRSC, but probably not to individual Senators, so maybe they are just waiting until that moment in September, at which time they'll obviously launder the money through the NRSC: "Hey Gordo, I'm sending a check over to Ensign right now for 2 Mil; it's for you, make sure you demand it."  That would allow them to accept the chits personally but still be legal.

That's the best explanation I can think of for this behavior.

Although, it still doesn't explain why they keep putting losers in at NRSC.  NRCC, DCCC, and DSCC are all high-powered slots, and the caucuses put real leaders in there.  Even in tough cycles, guys like Tom Cole sign on at NRCC (Tom Reynolds too, though he probably didn't know it would be a tough cycle when he took the assignment).  But for two cycles in a row now, we've seen Liddy Dole and John Ensign at NRSC, and Ensign was literally the last choice and they had to beg him to do it.  Meanwhile Schumer and Emanuel both made themselves king of the hill with their committees.

I don't get why NRSC, uniquely, would be a stepchild organization that no one cares about, no one wants to lead, and no one cares about enough to even ensure that some other capable person is leading.  Instead, it's left to rot.  I get that the Senate is a small chamber, so you don't really need an Emanuel wunderkind to know where your member-to-member donations should go, but it still does recruiting.  Do SenateGOPers not care that they have exactly one challenger this cycle, when they could have had five?  How could a failed NRSC not be important to them at all?  It seems like such an obvious abdication of self-interest...

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

They know they won't win
Shelby is a selfish bastard, if his record is anything to go by, so I doubt that he'll kick in much. But I suspect most of them are reluctant to contribute because they know the best that can be done is to minimise the number of seats that they lose. There's no glory in that and no potential for advancement as a result, so I suspect plenty of those who've given only sparingly or not at all are just saving up to fund their own re-election campaigns.

Probably many of them are thinking, shit my re-election campaign could go just as badly as everyone elses right now.  Specter is a great example of that, if he doesnt plan on retiring he shouldnt donate a cent, we'll be gunning hard for him.

[ Parent ]
Shouldn't we...
be hammering on our incumbents who are not in cycle or safe to be writing checks over to the DSCC...

A few names come to mind....

Ted Kennedy -- could give $1 million (he gave this in 2006)

Dick Durbin -- could give $2 million (he gave $1 million in 2006)

John Kerry -- could give $2-$3 million (he gave a large check in 2006)

Mark Pryor -- could give $1 million

Bill Nelson -- could give $500k

Carl Levin -- could give $1 million

Max Baucus -- could give $2 million

Dianne Feinstein -- could give $1 million (she gave this in 2006)

Jay Rockefeller -- could give $1 million

Tom Harkin -- could give $1 million


Evan Bayh has millions
Somewhere in the region of $10m, I think.

[ Parent ]
Larry Craig Given Nothing
Maybe Ensign getting down on his knees would be beneficial.

More likely vice versa
or is it vice versa?

[ Parent ]
Domenici and Craig are not giving, even though their seats have to be defended.
And I dont know what Collins and Stevens say to their buddiesSnowe and Murkowski as they wont help them with a tiny contribution to the NRSC...

33, living in Germany  

I don't know about Stevens and Murkowski, but . . .
. . . as far as I have gleaned, Snowe and Collins (or, as a Mainer friend of mine refers to them, Snowe and The Other One, indicating how they are viewed in the state,) are bitter rivals, with Collins always straggling along in the shadow of Snowe's sky-high popularity.  I could be wrong, of course, but that has been the impression I've gotten from talking to people in the know.

[ Parent ]
Do you know whether Lisa Murkowski
is part of the "old Alaska Republicans" crowd of Stevens/Young/F. Murkowski or part of the "new" crowd of Palin/Parnell?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
I dont have links or anything but I have definitely read about Murkowski getting in legal trouble as well.  Definitely definitely definitely old corrupt Republican guard.

[ Parent ]

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