Schumer asks on Gillibrand’s behalf, citing the ‘Ponzi scheme’ issue

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Schumer and Gillibrand, at an upstate event. (Kirsten Gillibrand)
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Kirsten Gillibrand's Senate campaign sent out an email this morning from her senior colleague Chuck Schumer, soliciting contributions ahead of an end-of-quarter filing deadline of Sept. 30.

Gillibrand is up for election to her first full term next year, and at the moment, her only prospective Republican opponent is Nassau County comptroller George Maragos, who tried and failed to attract support within the state Republican party last year for a run against Schumer. (Maragos and a few supporters were wearing campaign buttons promoting his effort at the state G.O.P. dinner last week.)

Gillibrand raised $6.3 million in the first half of 2010, the most by any senator or Senate candidate over that period; she trails only Scott Brown and Bill Nelson in cash-on-hand among incumbent senators who are up for reelection next year. So this push ("She needs to raise $150,000 so she can stay in the Senate ..." Schumer writes) is, as much as anything else, about dissauding anyone more troublesome than Maragos from challenging her.

The two have split on a couple of key votes of late, but that seems to be more a function of their respective stations in the Senate, than any breach in their working relationship. Gillibrand, as a relative newcomer, has carved out a left-leaning profile, in part by voting against some recent compromises like the one on the Bush tax cuts and the recent debt ceiling deal. Schumer, as a member of the Senate leadership, has something of an obligation to support those deals, and voted in favor of both.

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Her approval-disapproval rating, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, is a solid 52-23 percent. Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1998, has a rating of 59-31.

Here's the text of the email, which carried the dramatic subject line "Onslaught":

Dear Friend,
Republicans say Social Security is just a Ponzi scheme. They think a woman’s access to health care is expendable.
This is what Kirsten and I and our Democratic colleagues are up against, but it could be worse. The GOP still doesn’t have control of the Senate—at least for now.
We must do everything in our power to keep the Senate in Democratic hands, and that means supporting those senators who are up for re-election—especially Kirsten.
The national GOP is looking frantically for ways to get hold of the Senate, which means that Kirsten needs to be ready for the coming onslaught. That’s why I’m asking you to make your donation today, before the critical end-of-quarter deadline of September 30. We’ve got to ensure Kirsten has the resources she needs to win next November.
Click here to make a contribution to Kirsten’s campaign before midnight September 30 and help her reach her goal of raising $150,000 before the end-of-quarter deadline.
Republicans have made it clear they have no interest in helping hard-working Americans. All they care about is protecting the tax cuts for the wealthy and giving Big Oil outrageous subsidies.
But even as the GOP persists in its unrelenting attacks on everything we hold dear, Kirsten continues to fight back. She’s working for struggling middle-class families, elderly people who depend on Medicare and Social Security, and women who demand the right to choose.
Kirsten has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes, and that’s what makes her such an incredible asset for our state and our party.
We can’t lose Kirsten as our voice in the U.S. Senate. So I need you to make a contribution to her campaign today, before the important FEC filing deadline of September 30. The GOP is watching her fundraising totals for any sign of weakness, so it’s critical that Kirsten makes a strong showing this quarter.
Click here to make your donation to Kirsten’s campaign before the end-of-quarter deadline of September 30. She needs to raise $150,000 so she can stay in the Senate and keep up the fight.
We need Kirsten’s strong, progressive voice in the Senate. I hope you’ll join me in ensuring she stays there for many years to come.
Sincerely,
Chuck Schumer