The group that’s trying hard to draft CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow into a race against Chuck Schumer announced today it hired John Lakian as its finance chair.
“At this point in time, Larry’s not a declared candidate but he needs to have an apparatus that he can just add water to and make it go,” explained the group’s co-chairman and treasurer, Michael Caputo. “I’m working with attorneys now to make sure this can simply transfer into the hands of the campaign advisers when and if he does declare.”
Mr. Caputo first met Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Lakian when he was a young speechwriter for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign and watched the two men, and the candidate, argue over an economic speech Mr. Kemp was set to give. “Those three men did everything but stand up and punch each other out,” said Mr. Caputo, who appeared to mean that in a good way.
Mr. Lakian, a Wall Street financier, served as Mr. Kemp’s national finance co-chair–experience that Mr. Caputo hopes will help the group compete with Chuck Schumer, who just announced he has $19 million on hand to fend off any opponents. “Once folks understand, especially on Wall Street that you don’t have to respond to the gun to the head fundraising of Chuck Schumer, you’ll see some of his fundraising slow down and in fact that’s why we announced John Lakian this week,” said Mr. Caputo.
Mr. Caputo also said the group’s email list is nearing 20,000–thanks, in large part, to a Tea Party movement looking for its next upset candidate. “Sometimes late in the evening at like 9:00–which is apparently after a Tea Party meeting somewhere–we’ll get suddenly 30 or 40 people signing up in the same 15-minute period from like Round Rock, Texas. They’re coming in by the dozens at a time. Because at the end of the day, to them, Chuck Schumer is Beelzebub,” he said.
“[Larry's] forgotten more about economics than Chuck Schumer will ever know in the aggregate,” said Mr. Caputo. “And he’ll put a dress on Chuck Shumer in a debate.” (A spokesman for Mr. Schumer declined to comment.)
Though Mr. Kudlow has been coy on whether he’s open to being drafted, Mr. Caputo said he did receive an unsolicited email of thanks from the man himself. “If we’re able to show to Larry that we have the wherewithal to raise dollar for dollar or at least compete in a close competition with Chuck Schumer, he’ll be more inclined to do it.”
And what would happen to the donations if Mr. Kudlow can’t be lured into such a tough race?
“Well, I’m not quite sure. It would be really nice to have that kind of problem,” Mr. Caputo said. “At the end of the day, I’m not preparing to return donations right now, because I don’t believe we will have to.”