Who Says Democrats Don't Love Wall Street?
The incumbent junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is up for re-election this year against conservative Republican Wendy Long. Individuals and PACs from the securities and investment industry have poured $2.7 million into her campaign coffers, second only to lawyers, and are among the principal sugar daddies in a campaign in which she has exceeded Long in fundraising by a ridiculous margin, raising $13.8 million versus $337,000 for the Republican. Nobody seems to expect Long to win, and that includes law firms, even though she's a former litigation partner with Kirkland & Ellis. Wall Street is certainly not wasting any money on that lost cause.
Law firms are Long's biggest source of contributions, totaling $38,550 to date. Meanwhile, the securities and investment industry has doled out $31,750 to her campaign. That is about the best numerical indication that the Republican is most definitely a long shot. (The polls, which show her far behind Gillibrand, agree.)
Why back a Democrat and not a reliable conservative like Long? It's not just that Long doesn't have an icicle's chance in hell of winning. It's also that Gillibrand, like many on her side of the aisle, is no enemy of Wall Street. In fact, a few months ago she was being hailed in the business press as a "champion of Wall Street." In that capacity, she has taken over the mantle from the senior senator from New York, stalwart liberal Democrat Charles Schumer, who has had to temper his devotion to Wall Street now that he has become "more of a national Democratic leader," New York's Capital Web site reported in February.
"Meanwhile," the Web site reported, "Kirsten Gillibrand has quietly overcome considerable skepticism about her on Wall Street to become a go-to advocate for the financial-services industry in her own right." And the Street is clutching the skepticism-overcoming junior senator tightly to its collective bosom, judging from its campaign spending. Wouldn't you give money to Gillibrand over a long shot (or even a short shot) challenger, if you were a banker or brokerage exec?
You might do it to a worthy politician, or even do it if he or she isn't noted as a friend of Wall Street. Probably the best example is a New York congressman with a not-so-well-earned reputation for hostility to Wall Street, Gary Ackerman.