CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow has said he is “moving toward” running for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut with no apparent response from the network, even though CNBC previously said it would have to change its relationship with Kudlow if he seriously considered running. Kudlow has taken several steps that appear to violate the network's previous standard for employees exploring campaigns, including interviewing potential campaign staff, creating strategy, and promoting “a test-the-water committee, which would become the campaign.” At the same time, CNBC has allowed Kudlow to use its platform to attack potential Democratic opponent Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Kudlow Is “Moving Toward” Running For Senate
Kudlow Is A CNBC Senior Contributor. Larry Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor and appears regularly throughout the network's news programming. He also hosts a weekly radio show through Cumulus Media, and writes a nationally syndicated column through Creators Syndicate. [CNBC.com, accessed 2/2/16; WestwoodOne.com, accessed 2/2/16; Creators.com, accessed 2/2/16]
New York Post In September 2015: Kudlow Has “Decided To Run For The Senate.” Amid speculation that Kudlow would run for Sen. Chuck Schumer's seat in New York, New York Post writer Fredric Dicker wrote in September that Kudlow “has indeed decided to run for the Senate -- but he's going to do it in Connecticut instead.” Kudlow reportedly “privately notified Empire State GOP Chairman Ed Cox of his decision days ago” that he would run in Connecticut instead of New York. Kudlow responded to the story by tweeting, “Fred's good man,but I have not made any final decision.Did not talk to him. Story not accurate.” [New York Post, 9/27/15; Twitter.com, 9/28/15]
Kudlow In September: “I'm Leaning Toward” Running. The Huffington Post wrote in September:
“I'm leaning toward it. I'm not ready to make an announcement,” Kudlow said Sunday in an interview with WFSB Hartford's Dennis House.
Kudlow, a Connecticut resident and former member of the Reagan administration, threatened to challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) last month if the first-term incumbent voted for the nuclear deal with Iran. Blumenthal joined nearly every other member of the Senate Democratic caucus in doing so. [The Huffington Post, 9/21/15]
Kudlow In January On Senate Run: “I Can't Announce It Today, There Are All Kinds Of Legal And Financial Ramifications.” During a January 3 radio interview, Kudlow was asked about running for Senate and said he “can't announce it today, there are all kinds of legal and financial ramifications.” He added, “But I can only tell you as a friend ... that Judy and I are looking at it very carefully.” During the interview, Kudlow laid out areas of disagreement between him and Sen. Blumenthal, who he said is “ill-serving the citizens of Connecticut right now.” [WNYM, The Cats Roundtable, 1/3/16, via The Hill]
Hartford Courant In Late January: Kudlow “Sounded Like A Candidate” And “Seems Close To Running.” The Connecticut-based newspaper Hartford Courant wrote that Kudlow, who “sounded like a candidate,” “seems close to running” and “has been talking for months to friends, political advisers and fellow Republicans in local town committees about whether he should run”:
But now, at the age of 68, the longtime financial commentator seems close to running for public office for the first time against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Greenwich.
Best known to the general public as a longtime financial analyst on the CNBC television network, Kudlow has been talking for months to friends, political advisers and fellow Republicans in local town committees about whether he should run.
“We have a test-the-water committee, which would become the campaign if we go that far,'' Kudlow said Monday. ”It's a very big commitment, but we're looking at it very, very closely.''
Kudlow says he will make his final decision “before the end of February,'' but he sounded like a candidate Monday during an interview with The Courant in a small booth at a Fairfield diner. [Hartford Courant, 1/26/16]
Kudlow “Said He Has Interviewed Potential Media Consultants And Campaign Managers.” Conservative website Newsmax reported that Kudlow “said he has interviewed potential media consultants and campaign managers ('lots of 'em') and would be prepared for a full-blown race should he decide next month that he'll throw his hat in the ring.” The site added that Kudlow would decide on a run “before the end of February.” [Newsmax.com, 1/3/16]
Kudlow Said He's “Moving Toward” Running For Senate. During a January 5 appearance on The John Batchelor Show, Kudlow said he is “moving toward it, we're creating some infrastructure, we've got some strategy going, it's not quite ready for us to make a final decision. We do have, of course, a committee set up by National Review publisher Jack Fowler, which is a test-the-water committee. It's doing very well. We're raising pretty good money, I'm told -- it's not my committee.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The John Batchelor Show, 1/5/16]
Kudlow Has A “Test-The-Waters” Group That's Organizing On His Behalf
Kudlow's Longtime Friend Founded A “Test-The-Waters” Organization That “Will Become” His Campaign If He Runs. In December, National Review publisher Jack Fowler announced the formation of “Jobs for Connecticut, a 527 organization designed to test-the-waters for what many in the state hope will become a campaign for Larry Kudlow should he decide to become a candidate.” The group's website states that if Kudlow runs for Senate, its “information will be reported to the Federal Election Committee.” Fowler said he's been friends with Kudlow for “over 20 years.” [PRNewswire.com, 12/7/15; JobsForCT.com,12/18/15]
Jobs For Connecticut Was Formed “To Assist Larry Kudlow” In Exploring Possibility Of Senate Campaign. Jobs for Connecticut filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service on November 18, 2015. Its stated purpose is to “assist Larry Kudlow in exploring the feasibility of becoming a candidate for the United States Senate.” [IRS.gov, accessed 2/1/16]
Kudlow Said Jobs For Connecticut “Would Become The Campaign If We Go That Far.” In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Kudlow said: “We have a test-the-water committee, which would become the campaign if we go that far.” [Hartford Courant, 1/26/16]
Kudlow Reportedly Believes Jobs For Connecticut Helps Him Close The Potential Fundraising Gap Between Him And Blumenthal. The Connecticut Mirror reported of Kudlow and Jobs for Connecticut:
The incumbent Blumenthal, who has represented Connecticut in the Senate since 2010, has already raised more than $4 million for his re-election. But Kudlow says campaign fundraising is not a problem.
He says one reason he isn't concerned about playing catch-up is that Jack Fowler, Milford resident, publisher of National Review and Kudlow's long-time friend, is already raising money to help elect him.
Fowler recently formed a PAC called “Jobs for Connecticut” to “test the waters” for Kudlow's challenge to Blumenthal. “Apparently, they are doing very well,” Kudlow said.
Fowler said the PAC has collected “in the six figures,” over the last few weeks. [The Connecticut Mirror, 1/14/16]
Kudlow Said Jobs For CT Moves Him Closer To Running. The Connecticut Post quoted Kudlow stating of the group: “Does it move me closer? Yeah, I think it probably does a little bit.” [Connecticut Post, 12/7/15 ]
CT Post: Jobs For Connecticut Allows Kudlow “To Still Do Media Appearances And His Syndicated Radio Show.” [Connecticut Post, 12/7/15]
Kudlow On Jobs For Connecticut: “We Have A Test-The-Water Committee.” Kudlow has repeatedly used the word “we” when referring to the efforts of Jobs for Connecticut. He told the Hartford Courant, “We have a test-the-water committee,” and The John Batchelor Show: “We do have, of course, a committee set up by National Review publisher Jack Fowler, which is a test-the-water committee. It's doing very well. We're raising pretty good money, I'm told -- it's not my committee.” [Hartford Courant, 1/26/16; Cumulus Media Networks, The John Batchelor Show, 1/5/16]
CNBC Is Letting Kudlow Campaign On Its Platforms
CNBC.com Posted Kudlow Attack On Blumenthal As An Anti-Business “Career” Politician. CNBC.com posted Kudlow's syndicated column in which he criticized Blumenthal for Connecticut's “anti-business tax and regulatory policies.” He wrote: “By the way, has anyone heard U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a career Democratic politician of 35 years, ever utter one peep of protest against Connecticut's ruinous decisions to punish business? Just asking.” [CNBC.com, 1/15/16]
Kudlow: Connecticut “Has Become An Anti-Business State.” While appearing on CNBC's Closing Bell, Kudlow said Connecticut has become an “anti-business” and “anti-successful entrepreneurial state.” He added that Democrats are “beholden to the public service unions.” [CNBC, Closing Bell, 1/14/16]
Kudlow: Blumenthal Has “Not Done Anything To Help” Connecticut. During Closing Bell, Kudlow attacked Sen. Blumenthal for his stewardship of Connecticut's business climate, claiming Blumenthal has “not done anything to help.”
KUDLOW: In almost every business category, take a look at the Tax Foundation, Connecticut ranks, you know, 45th to 50th -- it's the worst, among the worst in the country. And it's catching up to them. Governor [Dannel P.] Malloy [D], Senator Blumenthal, have not done anything to help -- the story continues to deteriorate.
While Kudlow spoke, CNBC ran the on-air text: “Kudlow: Connecticut Now An Anti-Business State.”
[CNBC, Closing Bell, 1/14/16]
Kudlow Attacks Blumenthal As “A Taxer” And “Spender” With “Incorrect” Policies. During a CNBC appearance in which he said he was exploring a Senate bid, Kudlow attacked Blumenthal by stating: “His policies are incorrect. He's a taxer, he's a spender, he's a regulator, he has added to the hostile business environment in Connecticut. So I have a policy disagreement with him and I'm exploring very intensely.” [CNBC, Closing Bell, 9/11/15]
Kudlow: "I'm Extremely Upset" At Blumenthal Over Support For Iranian Deal. On CNBC, Kudlow attacked the Iran Nuclear deal, calling it an “awful” deal. He said that Blumenthal supporting the deal is bad for national security. [CNBC, Closing Bell, 9/3/15]
CNBC Previously Said It Would “Change” Relationship With Kudlow If He Seriously Considered Run
CNBC Said It Would “Change” Kudlow's Status If He Seriously Considered A Run. In 2010, when there was “talk” about Kudlow running for Senate, CNBC released a statement suggesting they would “change” their relationship with Kudlow if he began to “seriously” consider a bid. From the New York Times:
At CNBC, meanwhile, there is new talk that Mr. Kudlow could run for the Senate, this time in New York for the seat held by Charles E. Schumer. A “Draft Kudlow” campaign has made some noise, but a CNBC spokesman said on Friday that Mr. Kudlow “is not seriously considering a senatorial bid.”
“If that were to change, his relationship with CNBC would have to change as well,” the spokesman, Brian Steel, said. [New York Times, 2/14/10]