Conservative organizations, including American Crossroads headed by Bush White House aide Karl Rove, are spending an astounding $300 million to bolster the campaigns of Republican Senate hopefuls Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Rand Paul, and others, according to longtime Democratic strategist James Carville.
With that much money in play, Carville says Democratic control of the Senate is in doubt with this November’s midterm elections.
“With that much cash to burn, they’ll demonize Democrats, disguise their own radical views, and if successful, drag us back to the policies of a certain bumbling Texan,” Carville says, referring to former President George W. Bush.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, engineered by the court’s conservative bloc, has opened a potential floodgate of special-interest money in this year’s elections because the ruling swept away decades of limits on corporate influence on elections.
The folksy Carville, who helped mastermind Bill Clinton’s 1992 election, refers to Angle, of Nevada; Buck, of Colorado; and Paul, of Kentucky; as a “triumverate of tea,” for the trio’s connection to the so-called conservative tea party movement.
Angle seeks to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), while Buck hopes to defeat appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Paul is vying with Democrat Jack Conway to take the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.).
In an email soliciting funds for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Carville describes what he sees as the effect of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, being elevated to majority-leader status.
“Let Uncle James give it to you straight: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be a disaster, but it would only be the beginning. Republicans would use that victory as a launchpad to crush President Obama at the polls in 2012,” Carville says. “They’d then have free rein to privatize Social Security, repeal health care reform, explore their “Second Amendment remedies” and all the other crazy ideas they support.”
Democrats hold a robust 59-seat majority in the Senate, but fresh data indicates the party may face headwinds indeed similar to those in 1994 when Democrats lost control of both the House and Senate. Democrats are running this year in a period of sharply anti-incumbent sentiment, while Obama faces middling approval ratings at best among voters.
Carville says he is looking to raise campaign cash ahead of the August 31 deadline to report donations to the Federal Elections Commission.
“The end of this month marks the start of red-hot campaign season, and it’s go-time to get our message out, motivate voters and push back on their lies,” Carville says. “The DSCC is already running ads in Pennsylvania. It’s a great start, but man, it’s just the start.”
In the Keystone State, Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak is taking on former Republican Rep. Pat Toomey to hold the seat currently held by Sen. Arlen Specter, whom Sestak defeated this year in a Democratic primary.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.