Reid dollars seed Senate incumbents

With Sen. Harry Reid having won back his Nevada seat in 2010, he spread around early money this year to fellow Democrats who are facing voters in upcoming elections, according to a new campaign finance report.

Reid provided Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall with a $10,000 head start as she seeks a seat in the U.S. House through special election later this year.

The Senate majority leader also tapped into the Searchlight Leadership Fund, his personal political action committee, at the end of March to make contributions to each Senate Democrat who is up for reelection in 2012, according to a filing made public today through the Federal Election Commission.

The one exception is Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington State, who does not accept donations from political action committees.

But otherwise, Reid’s Searchlight Leadership Fund sent checks to Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York ($5,000); Tom Carper of Delaware ($10,000); Sherrod Brown of Ohio ($10,000); Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota ($10,000); Ben Nelson of Nebraska ($5,000); Bill Nelson of Florida ($10,000); Bob Casey of Pennsylvania ($10,000); Joe Manchin of West Virginia ($10,000); Dianne Feinstein of California ($10,000); Debbie Stabenow of Michigan ($10,000); Ben Cardin of Maryland ($10,000); Jon Tester of Montana ($10,000) Claire McCaskill of Missouri ($10,000), Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island ($10,000) and Bob Menendez of New Jersey ($5,000). Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also got $10,000.

The 2012 elections will determine whether Reid gets to remain Senate leader, as the Democrats hold a 53-47 majority but are defending 17 incumbents versus 8 incumbent Republicans. In addition, five Democrats plus independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut are retiring, creating open elections in those states. Only two Republicans are retiring.

Overall Reid raised $466,565 from January through June 5 for the Searchlight Leadership Fund, with $328,500 coming from a variety of companies, trade associations and labor organizations, and $138,050 from individuals.

Reid spent $574,361 on contributions to Democratic candidates and operating expenses for the PAC. He gave $2,500 to Mike Mayberry, who was unsuccessful this month in running for Henderson city council.

Reid also gave $15,000 to the legal defense fund of former Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, who was engaged in several legal battles following his appointment to the Senate by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2009.

The report also showed Reid getting creative in his fundraising efforts. His PAC, for instance, spent $1,090 for Washington Nationals tickets last month. In March, it spent $11,270 at tickets.com for an event tied to his fundraising.

There were no further details listed on those expenditures, and Reid’s office did not provide them.

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