First-quarter fundraising reports are starting to roll in, and just about any candidate that has announced his or her numbers is likely to end up a winner, once all numbers are out.
Candidates who announce early tend to do so because they have something to crow about. Like GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who rebounded from a lackluster showing at the end of last year that left her outraised by her Democratic opponent. She drew more than $877,000 in the first quarter.
Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) bounced back as well, raising more than $650,000 — and outraising his Democratic primary opponent for the first time this cycle. Ro Khanna still performed well, bringing in $460,000. Arizona state Rep. Ruben Gallego raised $160,000 in just a month of campaigning.
How much did Scott Brown raise during the three weeks he was exploring a bid in New Hampshire? Does Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes continue to pace Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in fundraising? Can Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) outraise his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, this quarter? Do any of the candidates in the Oklahoma or Nebraska Republican primaries distinguish themselves in fundraising? Are Arizona Democratic Reps. Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick picking up the fundraising pace, now that they’re facing a steady stream of outside attacks? Will Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) manage to increase his haul?
Reports will continue to trickle out in the coming weeks. It’s too early to say who’s losing, but it’s already becoming clear who’s won.
KOCHS FIGHT BACK: Billionaire Charles Koch fired back on his critics in a Thursday op-ed, accusing them of trying to defame him for political purposes.
WILL WHITE HOUSE LEAN ON DONORS? The White House wouldn't say Thursday whether President Obama would use Wednesday's Supreme Court decision on campaign financing to solicit donations from those who would have maxed out under existing rules.
GA-SEN (OPEN): Democrat Michelle Nunn is out with her first ad, touting her connections to fomer President George H.W. Bush in an effort to bolster her bipartisan cred.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was in Georgia to campaign with former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) on Thursday. Palin had already endorsed Handel in her crowded primary. She also headed to Florida for House candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto (R).
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) is out with a new ad as well, featuring a man impersonating President Obama leaving him a voicemail to ask him to stop fighting ObamaCare.
IA-SEN (BRALEY): Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) apologized again for his “farmer from Iowa” remarks on Thursday in his first interview since the gaffe. “We all say things that we later regret. This was one of those times for me. That's why I apologized to Sen. Grassley. I apologized to farmers and Iowans who were offended by my words, because I think that that is not the implication that I intended and I wanted to make that clear to Sen. Grassley and to Iowa farmers,” he told the Des Moines Register.
Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R ) got a few boosts on Thursday in her competitive primary: the Susan B. Anthony List and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) both endorsed her. Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have already backed Ernst.
KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) primary challenger, Matt Bevin, made national headlines again after attending a cockfighting rally, which his campaign insists he didn’t know was meant to support cockfighting and instead says was a “state’s rights” rally. The Humane Society Legislative Fund has called for him to drop out of the race, because he “showed appalling judgment in associating himself with this band of lawbreakers and perpetrators of unspeakable animal cruelty.”
ME-SEN (COLLINS): Sen. Susan Collins (R) raised $877,000 in the first quarter of the year and has more than $3.6 million cash on hand, a major victory for the incumbent as she was outraised by her Democratic opponent, Shenna Bellows, in the last quarter of last year.
MI-SEN (OPEN): Yet another poll has found a tight race for Michigan’s open Senate seat, with former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) leading Rep.Gary Peters (D-Mich.) by 40 percent ot 38 percent.
MS-SEN (COCHRAN): A pro-Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) group launched a new ad charging his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, has “taken both sides” on a number of hot-button issues. Meanwhile, McDaniel drew scrutiny after a local political blog reported he was scheduled to headline an event that also featured a Confederate memorabilia vendor that was an avowed white supremacist.
SD-SEN (OPEN): Former state Sen. Gordon Howie jumped into the South Dakota Senate race as an independent on Thursday, framing his candidacy as a conservative alternative to former Gov. Mike Rounds, the expected GOP nominee. Howie said he would drop out of the race if his preferred Republican, state Rep. Stace Nelson, makes it through the primary, though that remains unlikely. His entry into the race could be a boon for Democrats, as he joins former Sen. Larry Pressler, also running as an independent, and both could draw votes from the Republican nominee.
TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced raising more than $614,000 in the first quarter of the year and has more than $3.1 million cash on hand. That’s a slight slow-down from last quarter, when he raised $775,000 and had about the same cash on hand, but he’s likely still significantly better funded than his closest primary challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr. Carr has yet to release his first quarter numbers but at the end of the year he had just $405,000 cash on hand.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE
CLINTON TELLS DEMS TO ‘SUIT UP’: Former President Clinton said the No. 1 goal for Democrats should be increasing turnout for the midterms. He also urged apathetic voters to tune in. "All these people who have these feelings who want to build modern, cooperative, prosperous societies got to understand that no matter how disdainful they find politics, if they don't play it, somebody will," he said. "And you will lose if you sit it out. You have to suit up and play the game."
PELOSI SLAMS ‘EXISTENTIAL THREAT’: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Thursday that the Supreme Court decision to eliminate a decades-old cap on individual campaign donations poses "an existential threat" to the nation's democracy.
CA-52 (PETERS): Republican Carl DeMaio posted another impressive fundraising haul, raising $400,000 in the last three months, and has $1.2 million in the bank for his run against Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.).
OH-8 (BOEHNER): Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is going up with his first television ad since 2010, a “man on the street spot,” according to an aide, that will run district-wide for the next two weeks. It’s an effort, campaign spokesman Cory Fritz said, to engage voters during a midterm year when not much heavy campaigning is going on in the state.
WI-6 (PETRI): Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R), a conservative state legislator, announced Thursday that he'll challenge Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.).
HUCKABEE TOPS IOWA FIELD: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is leading the pack in another Iowa primary poll, this one from GOP polling firm WPA Research. Huckabee pulls 14 percent, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at 10 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) at 8 percent.
RGA BREAKS RECORD IN 1ST Q FUNDRAISING: With New Jersey governor and prospective 2016 presidential contender Chris Christie at the helm, the Republican Governors Association raised a record-breaking $23.5 million in the first quarter of the year.
ELIZABETH WARREN: HOT OR NOT? (HOT) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ranks as the "hottest" politician in a new Quinnipiac poll, even though many people do not know enough about her to form an opinion.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’ll go try to find out where I’m supposed to be.”
—Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), after being passed a note by a staffer to let him know he was in the wrong hearing, questioning the wrong witness