He may not agree all the time with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, but on Friday Richard Blumenthal wasn’t about to turn down the senior senator’s help.
Schumer was in Connecticut to campaign on Blumenthal’s behalf, and the pair spent a busy afternoon visiting AdChem Manufacturing Technologies in Manchester and later a senior center in Glastonbury. Schumer was scheduled to end his visit at a $500-per-person fundraiser for Blumenthal’s campaign at The Hartford Club.
The New York senator told AdChem President Michael Polo that “they could not have a better ally than a guy like Dick Blumenthal.”
“Attorney General Blumenthal is somebody I have admired for years and years,” Schumer said. “He always comes up with the right ideas to fight for the average middle class person and the average small business. He is desperately needed in Washington to change the given order of things.”
Where do they disagree? The $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program of 2008 that bailed out the banks after the market crashed. Schumer voted in favor. Blumenthal says he would have opposed the bill. But that hasn’t stopped Wall Street interests from contributing to both of their campaigns. They are two of the only three Democrats among the top 10 recipients of campaign donations from Wall Street.
Schumer’s campaign, which tops the list, has received $1.52 million, according to this article in The Hill, which cites data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Blumenthal’s campaign has received $707,000 while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, has received $788,000. The top Republican on that list is Ohio’s Rob Portman, whose campaign has received $820,000.
TARP is among the pressure points leading political observers to suggest that the “order of things” may look different after the Nov. 2 election.
Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, predicted last week that Republicans will win the House and pick up anywhere from eight to 10 seats in the Senate.
As head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2009, Schumer is considered to be the architect of the Senate’s return to a Democratic majority.
So far the race for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat has been described as “Lean Democrat” and Democrats remain largely confident Blumenthal will succeed in November. Schumer said that’s because Blumenthal is already a household name in Connecticut.
“He’s already done it for decades,” Schumer said referring to Blumenthal’s 20-year tenure as attorney general.
The question voters are going to be asking themselves is, “can the person I’m going to pull the lever for, or mark the dot for, help me?” Schumer said. “They’re going to see hands down that it’s Blumenthal.”
He may be right that sentiment. According to Friday’s Rasmussen poll, Blumenthal leads McMahon 53 to 44 points, which is up two points in Blumenthal’s favor from the last poll conducted right after the Aug. 10 primary. It is the first time Blumenthal’s poll numbers have improved against McMahon since pollsters began tracking the race.
Democrats, who still hold the majority in both the U.S. House and Senate, currently are debating whether to extend the Bush tax cuts despite President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to allow them to expire.
“Our first priority is to get those tax breaks to middle-class families,” Schumer said. “I think the idea of making sure that the overwhelming majority of American families get a tax cut will be hard for the Republicans to resist. Particularly when we are also saving some of that money for deficit reduction.”
Blumenthal supports extending the tax breaks to individuals making up to $200,000 a year and families making up to $250,000.
McMahon is calling for an extension of the Bush tax cuts at all income levels, including the wealthiest.