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DSCC Debt Free Heading Into 2006 Cycle

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has erased nearly $4 million in debt built up during the 2004 cycle, according to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).

“We are starting off this year debt free,” Reid said during a news conference held at DSCC headquarters Thursday morning.

Two gifts will account for more than half of the relief: The DSCC received $1 million commitments from both the Democratic National Committee and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

The remaining $1.6 million was donated by Democratic Caucus members, in a drive led by a $500,000 donation by Reid. DSCC Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said he had secured an additional $1 million in commitments from fellow Senators.

Schumer and Reid also announced the appointment of five regional vice chairmen to help with fundraising and candidate recruitment. The vice chairmen are: Sens. Jack Reed (R.I.), Barack Obama (Ill.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.). Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln will head up rural outreach efforts.

The dual announcements were designed to rebut the creeping conventional wisdom that Senate Democrats find themselves in disarray after their four-seat loss in the 2004 elections.

“We are optimistic about 2006,” said Schumer, pointing out that every wartime president has lost Senate seats in the midterm election of his second term.

The New York Senator predicted the issue agenda would also favor Democrats, especially on Social Security, the reform of which President Bush has said is his top agenda item in 2005.

“The answers President Bush has are not the right answers,” Schumer said.

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