He is one of the brainiest, most outspoken, most liberal members of the U.S. House, but even Democrat Barney Frank, the powerful chairman of the Banking Committee, is in a competitive race for reelection in his Boston-area district.
Frank is campaigning aggressively against Republican Sean Bielat, so much so that he has cut back drastically on his donations to colleagues running for reelection other districts across the country, according to the Wall Street Journal
Frank, 70, has given just $35,000 to 12 Democratic hopefuls, compared to $248,000 to 86 candidates two years ago, the Center for Responsive Politics
reports. His giving to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm of the Democratic caucus, has also dropped to $250,000 from $650,000 in 2008.
Routinely reelected by lopsided margins, Frank is still a strong favorite on Nov. 2, but he is apparently going to have to work for it this time. He even called in former President Bill Clinton to campaign for him last month.
Frank, who was in the center of the debate over the meltdown on Wall Street and the eventual enactment of financial reform legislation, is routinely targeted by conservative commentators such as Fox News talk show host Bill O'Reilly. "It's not my opponent that is the issue, it's the right-wing attacks," he told the Journal. "No matter how implausible things are, if people are saying them over and over again, you've got to respond to them or people will believe them."
Bielat, a 35-year-old business consultant, said, "People here are tired of Barney Frank. He's been here for 30 years. He's gained a reputation for being arrogant to constituents, to the press, to whomever."
Bielat got the attention of Democrats by raising $400,000 for his campaign in September. Heavily Democratic Massachusetts seemed off-limits to Republicans in most congressional elections until last January, when the GOP's Scott Brown won a special election for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. But Frank isn't likely to be caught off guard. He has more than $1 million available in his campaign treasury for the closing weeks of the race.
Filed Under: Senate
, Wall Street
, 2010 Elections