Warren Reportedly Hurting Dems' Senate Fundraising

Wall Street Dems withholding cash for down-ballot Senate races

Getty Images
November 4, 2019

Several Wall Street Democratic megadonors are reportedly withholding donations for down-ballot Senate candidates due to their dissatisfaction with presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's rise in the polls.

CNBC reports the Massachusetts senator's rise is hurting the party's fundraising efforts. "Some finance executives have recently told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that they are, for the moment, holding back from donating to Democrats running for Senate in 2020," the report says, "due to their concerns with Warren becoming a front-runner in the race for the party's presidential nomination."

Warren has steadily climbed in the RealClearPolitics average of Democratic primary polls from a distant fifth in April to a close second in November, including a brief moment in October when she supplanted former vice president Joe Biden as the frontrunner.

Longtime Democratic donor Bernard Schwartz said he knows of multiple Wall Street executives who have told Schumer (D., N.Y.) they will withhold donations to Senate races if Warren wins the nomination. "I think at the end of the day it's going to be very hard for Elizabeth Warren to be the leader of the party," he said. "I think the party is much more centrist than the people who have the microphone."

An anonymous financier told CNBC that the Democrats pressuring Schumer "don't feel safe going to Trump, they feel disillusioned by Biden and they see this as a tactic to slow her down. They see it as a way to put pressure on the party as a whole to move away from Warren."

The New York Times reports that the usually politically divided financial industry is "more or less united" against Warren, due to her anti-Wall Street rhetoric and policies that critics believe would damage the industry. Warren's recent Medicare for All proposal, for example, would pay for the $52 trillion health care overhaul in part by increasing taxes on capital gains and stock trades and imposing a wealth tax.

The CNBC report comes two months after Democratic megadonors also told CNBC they would sit out the 2020 election or even support Donald Trump if Warren won the nomination. "You're in a box because you're a Democrat and you're thinking, 'I want to help the party, but she's going to hurt me, so I'm going to help President Trump,'" said one executive speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Warren revels in such criticism. "I'm not afraid of anonymous quotes, and wealthy donors don't get to buy this process," she tweeted in response to the September CNBC story. "I won't back down from fighting for the big, structural change we need."