Chamber of Commerce's top political strategist resigns amid turmoil

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Chamber of Commerce's top political strategist resigns amid turmoil

The House Democratic endorsements sparked a wave of accusations within the Chamber this summer, with donors and local business leaders pushing back on some of the proposed endorsements. But they couldn’t stop the process. And after the endorsements came out, President Donald Trump called Chamberlain Tom Donohue to complain, while Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy said he no longer wanted the Chamber’s support.

Reed’s resignation was first reported by the New York Times. A spokesman for the chamber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reed is closely associated with the GOP, working his way up and leading Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. He has been with the Chamber of Commerce since 2012 when the organization increased its political spending on Republican Congressmen during the Obama administration. Reed orchestrated the Chamber’s multi-million dollar campaign to bring the Senate under Republican control in 2014.

With the Senate Democrats fighting for the majority in 2020, the chamber has adjusted its approach. At a staff meeting last week, Jack Howard, a senior vice president and top lobbyist for the organization, outlined plans to reach out to the Senate Democrats and “normalize our relations with the party.”

Reed said his decision to quit was related to the chamber’s unwillingness to spend sizable money on Senate races in the final days of the election. The chamber has backed a number of vulnerable Senate Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), but spent far less money in 2020 than it did in 2014 when it put tens of millions of dollars behind GOP Senate candidates.

“They didn’t let me spend Senate money on the home stretch,” Reed said.

He added that the chamber “is now hedging its bets with Democrats”.

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