“We have been operating, essentially, at a huge disadvantage,” said Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the chief strategist for GOP Senate races. “I’m one who happens to believe more speech and more information about the candidates and the issues is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
An arm of the GOP?
Democrats are particularly dismayed by the chamber siding so heavily with Republicans, considering the organization’s brand as representing Main Street. The chamber has not yet endorsed a single Democrat in a remotely competitive Senate race.
“They basically have become an arm of the Republican Party, and that’s not good for the businesses they represent, but that’s what is happening. The local chambers don’t back that up,” said Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate. “Instead of sharp shooting, they’re firing every howitzer around.”
No candidate has faced the barrage quite like Sherrod Brown. In 2008, the chamber’s most expensive race was the reported $4.3 million spent in New Hampshire. The group topped that figure last month when its most recent ad campaign against Brown brought the total tally to more than $4.7 million.
Brown is frustrated because the money is coming from undisclosed sources, but he said that he has a pretty good idea who is funding the effort. “It could be a few billionaires, it could be Exxon. I assume, because of my record, it’s Wall Street banks. I assume it’s Exxon and other oil interests,” he said.
“It makes some people think, ‘If I vote on this amendment, man, they’re coming after me,’ ” Brown said of the heavy spending. “But they’re coming after everybody who has a D after their name.”