U.S. Senator Michael Bennet answers questions to the media along side with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, at left, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, during a visit at Camp Hale near Leadville. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

By Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In a show of support for keeping a Democratic Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is transferring $15 million from his campaign account to his party’s candidates, incumbents and political committee for the fall election.

That’s according to a Democrat familiar with the situation who insisted on anonymity to discuss it.

Schumer is sending $1 million each to nine candidates — four incumbent Democratic senators and five Democratic challengers in battleground states.

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That includes $1 million to the most contested senators — Raphael Warnock in Georgia, Mark Kelly in Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.

And it includes $1 million to the victory funds of newcomers Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin, John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Cherie Beasley in North Carolina, Tim Ryan in Ohio and Val Demings in Florida, the Democrat familiar with the situation said.

“Keeping and growing the Democratic majority in the Senate is my top priority,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer, who is expected to return as majority leader if Democrats keep the Senate, is shoveling the funds to his candidates in a vote of confidence in them as the split 50-50 chamber hangs in the balance this fall.

Republicans are working to wrest control of the chamber in a midterm election that would traditionally favor the party that’s not in the White House, but the races have narrowed after a brutal primary season. Schumer’s show of support for his party’s candidates stands out after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently voiced the view that his own party’s “candidate quality” could pose challenges.

Notably, Schumer is also giving $500,000 each to incumbent colleagues Michael Bennet in Colorado and Patty Murray in Washington, both seasoned senators, in a sign of how competitive the Senate map is becoming weeks from the November election. The Democrat familiar with the situation said Schumer thinks both those candidates are in great shape for their reelection bids.

Besides the money being sent directly to the candidates, Schumer is transferring $5 million to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the party’s campaign arm for senators, from his own account.