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Democrats in Accord

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has contributed $2 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this year.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has contributed $2 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this year. (By Dennis Brack -- Bloomberg News)

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By Chris Cillizza and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Sunday, October 8, 2006

After months of negotiating, the leaders of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have struck a deal on the national party's spending strategy in its quest to capture control of the Senate in November.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has agreed to put what one Democratic aide said was roughly $5 million into Senate races. Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman, welcomed the agreement, saying: "The DNC is helping us at a time we need it very much, and we appreciate Chairman Dean's efforts."

A few weeks ago, Dean struck a similar deal with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) to spend $12 million on voter-mobilization efforts this fall, with $2.4 million allotted to the most competitive House races.

The deals bring a measure of closure to a heated debate this year among Dean, Schumer and Emanuel over the party's spending strategy. Emanuel and Schumer have advocated spending resources on this year's races, when the national political climate favors substantial Democratic gains in both chambers. But Dean has said that the party's long-term health relies on spending money to develop party infrastructure across the country.

The DNC also intends to increase its contribution to the most competitive fall House campaigns by $2 million -- to a total of $4.4 million. "In this important election, as with every election, we can't take any vote for granted," said DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney.

Clinton Donates $2 Million

Another prominent Democrat is boosting the Senate campaign committee's bank account this fall. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), cementing her reputation as her party's fundraiser in chief, recently gave $2 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee .

Clinton cut a $1 million check from her campaign kitty late last month -- a sum matched by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.). Clinton then gave another $1 million Wednesday, establishing herself as the single largest contributor to the DSCC this election cycle.

"This is very generous and couldn't come at a better time," Schumer said of the contribution.

The money comes from Clinton's massive stash of cash -- more than $22 million in late August. Since coming to the Senate in 2001, Clinton has raised $46 million for her reelection bid, hoping to scare away a big-name Republican challenger.

It worked. Former Yonkers mayor John Spencer is the GOP's sacrificial lamb this fall. An independent poll conducted last month showed Clinton ahead 58 percent to 29 percent.

But the fat bank account also allows her to lavish campaign funds on Democrats hoping to join her in the Senate in January -- a necessary move if she hopes to run for president in 2008. Clinton has also been making campaign stops, including in Virginia last week to support former Navy secretary James Webb's Senate bid. She is expected to visit Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida before Election Day.

"Senator Clinton is committed to doing all she can to help Democrats win back control of Congress," said Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Clinton.


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