NEWS

Schumer Tops Durbin in Leadership and Fundraising

Daniel Stevens | April 10, 2015

US Congress/Wikimedia Commons

April 16, 2015 -- On March 27, the long-time leader of Senate Democrats, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), announced he will retire from the Senate at the end of his current term in January 2017. The impending departure of Sen. Reid, who has been leading his party in the upper chamber since 2005, immediately set off speculation about who would succeed him. The Minority Whip, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and the Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), quickly emerged as the leading candidates. The two Democrats are, respectively, the second and third highest ranking Democrats in the Senate.

Data: MapLight analysis of contributions from employees and PACs to the principal campaign committees of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2014. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

After just a few hours of intrigue, though, Sen. Durbin ended his campaign and endorsed Sen. Schumer, allowing the New Yorker to surpass him in the line of succession. As a prolific fundraiser, one can see how Sen. Schumer gained traction as the favorite candidate among his fellow Senate Democrats.

  • During the last six years, Sen. Schumer has raised $25.6 million for his campaign committee compared to Sen. Durbin’s $10.3 million.

Sen. Schumer has, in turn, shared his substantial fundraising wealth with his fellow Democrats through contributions to the Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Sen. Schumer served as the chair of the DSCC during the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

Data: MapLight analysis of contributions from the principal campaign committees and PACs of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to the DSCC from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2014. Contributions data source: Federal Election Commission.

  • During the last six years, Sen. Schumer’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, Impact, contributed more than $5 million to the DSCC, by far the most of any member.  

  • Sen. Durbin’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, Prairie PAC, contributed $2.1 million to the DSCC during that time.

Sen. Schumer and Sen. Durbin also raised their campaign funds from different industries. Below is a chart displaying the top 20 industries that contributed to both senators and the percentage of total fundraising received from those industries.

Data: MapLight analysis of contributions from employees and PACs to the principal campaign committees of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2014. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

Not surprisingly, Sen. Schumer, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, raised significantly more money from the financial sector in comparison to Sen. Durbin, an Illinois native.

  • During the last six years, Sen. Schumer raised $3.9 million from the securities and investment sector, or 15 percent of his total campaign funds.

  • Sen. Durbin raised slightly more than $270,000 from the same sector, or 2.6 percent of his total funds.  

Sen. Durbin raised more money, as a percentage of his overall contributions, than Sen. Schumer from some traditional Democratic interest groups, like unions.

  • During the last six years, Sen. Durbin raised $316,250 from assorted labor interest groups, or 3.1 percent of his total campaign funds. 

  • Sen. Schumer raised $354,750 from the same sector, or 1.4 percent of his total funds.

For more information on the top contributing industries to Sen. Schumer or Sen. Durbin, see MapLight’s profiles of members of Congress here.

Campaign Contributions Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and their leadership political action committees, from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2014. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org. MapLight analysis of contributions to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2014. Contributions data source: Federal Election Commission.

MapLight is a 501(c)3 research organization that tracks money's influence on politics.

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