Whitehouse raises money using spurned Supreme Court offer

The big headline out of Vice President Biden’s visit to Rhode Island last month was the revelation that the Obama administration asked U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse whether he’d be interested in being nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Whitehouse’s campaign related the story again in an email blast signed by his wife, Sandra, seeking donations ahead of the March 31 quarterly fundraising deadline. Here’s what she wrote:

A few weeks ago, Vice President Biden shared a little bit of a family secret with all of Rhode Island…

That’s when he told a crowd of Sheldon’s supporters that back in 2010, he’d approached Sheldon about a very different job — Supreme Court Justice.

And here’s what Sheldon told him right off the bat, “Sorry Joe, but my commitment to the people of Rhode Island comes first.”

Sheldon shared the news with me… and then got back to work on the issues that matter to you, to me, and to the people of Rhode Island. That clear commitment to Rhode Island and to our country is what makes him a senator we can all be proud of.

As it happens, the Supreme Court chamber isn’t a completely unfamiliar place to Whitehouse; as attorney general, he argued the property-rights case Palazzolo v. Rhode Island before the justices in 2001.

The incumbent senator had a 22-point lead over his Republican challenger Barry Hinckley in our WPRI poll last month, but Hinckley is doing his best to stay relevant, rapping Whitehouse most recently for his vote against the House’s JOBS Act and his absence at a rally in Washington held by New England fishermen. Not all incumbent senators are safe this year, either, though that appears to be a problem for Republicans.

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