Politics

Paul Ryan Accidentally Handed a Giant Check to Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is already cashing in on House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) mid-October warning about a Democratic takeover of the the Senate in November.

“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee?" Ryan asked a group of Wisconsin Young Republicans Oct. 14. "A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”

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Since Ryan dropped Sanders' name, the Sanders campaign has received a record $2.4 million in donations to fund Democrats in down-ballot races, the Nation reports.

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The Sanders camp thanked Ryan for the cash flow in a few cheeky tweets.

These contributions will fund vulnerable Democrats in House and Senate races, according to the Sanders campaign.

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As Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads in the polls, Democrats have turned their attention and funds to down ballot races, with hopes of reclaiming the Senate majority.

Democrats only need to pick up four seats in the Senate on November 8 if Clinton wins the presidency (if Trump wins, they need five). Only 10 seats held by Democrats are on the ballot this year; 24 seats held by Republicans are on the ballot. At time of writing, FiveThirtyEight's Senate forecast projects that Democrats have a 67.6 percent chance of retaking control of the chamber.

State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and former House Rep. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.) are both in close Senate races against their respective Republican opponents.

Sanders is also supporting candidates fighting for seats in the House of Representatives.

House of Representatives contenders Zephyr Teachout (a candidate in New York's 19th congressional district), Paul Clements (a contender in Michigan's sixth congressional district), Colorado's sixth congressional district contender State Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Colo.), ex-Hermosa Beach City Councilor Nanette Barragan (a candidate in California's 44th congressional district), and incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) are each in competitive House races.

Big down-ballot wins for Democrats would make it easier for a Clinton presidency to govern and curtail the kind of congressional obstruction that President Barack Obama faced after the 2010 midterm elections.

ATTN: reached out to the offices of Bernie Sanders and Paul Ryan for comment and will update this post as necessary.