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Despite the $2 million infusion from Coburn and McCain, the NRSC still lags behind the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee significantly in Member giving. The DSCC brought in $7.4 million last month, compared with the NRSC’s $6 million.
But that included a $1 million transfer from Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) — his second $1 million transfer of the 2010 cycle. The DSCC declined to reveal any Member transfers that might have been received in September. The NRSC finished August with $1.6 million more in cash on hand than the DSCC.
Buoyed by a favorable political atmosphere and an opportunity to return to political relevance, Republicans have slowly opened their wallets to the NRSC and provided the committee with their time after years of rebuffing pleas by previous chairmen to fund the organization and help it keep pace with the DSCC. Cornyn decided upon assuming the NRSC chairmanship not to badger GOP Members for transfers but rather to ask them to aide the committee in other ways.
The competitive Republican takeover targets include seats held by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.); seats in Illinois and Delaware previously occupied by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden; and a mixture of open and incumbent-held seats in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is personally and professionally close with McCain, said his colleague was motivated to contribute to the NRSC by a desire to return Republicans to political relevancy in the Senate. Graham said that McCain shares frustrations with how the GOP got rolled on the health care reform bill and other major legislation because it simply lacked numbers and that he wants to do something about it by helping the NRSC fund races.
“He is now John Cornyn’s favorite person,” Graham quipped, adding seriously: “I think it speaks strongly of John’s commitment to bring balance back to the Senate. I think John is very disappointed in the direction the Democratic leadership and President Obama’s taken the country and we’re in a stage now where we can bring balance back. We’re competitive in races no one dreamed of.”