February 10, 2014, 11:25 am
Obama plans six fundraisers for Senate Dems
By Justin Sink
President Obama will host at least six fundraisers for Senate Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, a Democratic aide said Monday.
The president's commitment comes after he huddled last week in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil.
According to Politico, which first reported the fundraisers, the fundraising appearances will include trips to New York and the Washington suburbs in the "coming weeks." The president is also planning to hold fundraisers for Senate Majority PAC, the outside group dedicated to preserving Democratic control of the upper chamber.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama was "going to assist Democrats in every way that he can."
"The President is taking an approach that he believes will be of assistance to Democrats, because he and the Democrats he supports share the same priorities when it comes to expanding opportunity and taking action that rewards hard work and responsibility," Carney said.
Democrats are defending 21 of the 36 Senate seats up this fall, and election watchers widely expect the party to lose seats. Democrats in red states like South Dakota, West Virginia and Montana have retired, and Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) are facing tough races. Republicans only need to flip six seats to win back control.
Some of those vulnerable lawmakers have opted against traveling with Obama to recent events in their home states. Others have openly criticized the president — evidence that he might be more hurt than help in tough elections.
"I want him up in Alaska so I can show him where his policies haven't worked," Begich told the Associated Press earlier this month. "I'll drag him up there to show him what he needs to be doing. I don't need him campaigning for me."
Last week, Carney sidestepped questions about whether the White House was concerned that Democrats might be unwilling to appear with the president.
"I think that the decisions about how different candidates campaign and what they would like in terms of assistance is something you can ask those individual candidates about," Carney said.
In 2013, the president held at least eight fundraisers for the DSCC, and one for the Senate Victory Fund. That effort helped the DSCC raise $52.6 million in 2013 — a record for off-year fundraising — and build a $16 million advantage over the NRSC.
In an interview with TIME Magazine published Monday, Vice President Biden hinted he too could help fundraise in some pivotal Senate races.
"What I do is, I campaign for the Democrat," Biden said. "So, will I go into Kentucky? Jerry Lundergan, who is the dad of our candidate [Alison Lundergan Grimes], is a close friend of mine. He was the Biden chairman for my effort to win Kentucky, which we never got to in ’08, so I’m sure I will help his daughter if they ask to raise money."