CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Senate Dems flex fundraising muscle

Senate Democrats have kept up their prodigious fundraising over the last quarter, giving them a key advantage heading into the fall campaign.

A number of Democrats posted eye-popping numbers. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) hauled in $4 million, outraising Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who brought in $3.1 million. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) brought in $3.6 million, and Georgia Senate nominee Michelle Nunn (D) brought in nearly $3.5 million, more than the combined total of two Republicans vying to face her in next Tuesday’s primary.

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McConnell still has the edge in campaign cash, and Senate Republicans have their own fundraising standouts, like Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Big-spending GOP outside groups can also do a lot to even the playing field with big ad buys. But Democrats appear to be winning the overall fundraising battle, and the most potent campaign cash is that controlled by the candidates.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

CO-SEN (UDALL), MI-SEN (OPEN): Two new polls out Tuesday hold good news for Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) as they battle competitive Republican challengers for Senate seats. The NBC/Marist polls show Udall holding his biggest lead in months against Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), earning 48 percent of the vote to Gardner’s 41 percent, with 10 percent undecided. Peters leads his Republican challenger, Terri Lynn Land, by 43 percent to 37 percent, according to the polls, with 19 percent undecided.

The Senate Majority PAC also released new ads hitting Gardner on abortion and contraception.

SC-SEN (GRAHAM): Financial filings made public Tuesday show that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 to the super-PAC backing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during his primary race against a Tea Party challenger. Bloomberg made a similar donation made public last month to Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) primary battle against Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) edged Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in the second quarter of this year, raising more than $1.26 million compared to Sullivan’s almost $1.2 million. Due to heavy spending of nearly $2 million in the quarter, Begich is left with about $2.2 million on hand. Sullivan reported $1.7 million in the bank at the end of June.

Begich also released an ad featuring an Iraq War veteran touting the senator’s work to keep a fighter jet squadron in Alaska.

GA-SEN (OPEN): Democrat Michelle Nunn raked in more than $3.45 million in the second quarter, a sum that is likely to be among the best in the country for the period. Nunn’s fundraising topped that of both of her Republican challengers, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and David Perdue, by $300,000.

Perdue released an ad attacking Kingston’s “22 years of liberal spending” and calling for change in Washington.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) beat out her main GOP challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), in second-quarter fundraising, bringing in $2.1 million to the congressman’s $1.6 million. Landrieu finished the second quarter with $6.2 million in the bank after her strongest fundraising quarter, despite spending $3.39 million in the same period. Cassidy reported $5.8 million cash on hand at the end of June.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes raked in more than $4 million during the second quarter of this year, besting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who raised $3.1 million. Grimes still lags in cash on hand, though, ending the quarter with $6.2 million compared to McConnell’s $9.8 million in the bank.

Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a group backing McConnell, launched a new ad Tuesday praising McConnell for “working to help create jobs” and “leading the fight for the Saving Coal Jobs Act, to stop Obama’s war on our way of life.” The 30-second spot, technically an issue advocacy ad rather than an election ad, is backed by a $719,000 week-long buy.

Meanwhile, Represent.us, a group pushing campaign finance reform, has raised $20,000 for a satirical Senate “candidate” to rent a campaign bus to tour throughout the state and “campaign” for Senate in Kentucky. Gil Fulbright, played by an actor, “will be driving home one core message: America's political system has been corrupted by money and must be fixed,” a spokesman said.

IA-SEN (OPEN): The Senate Majority PAC released an ad tying Iowa Senate nominee Joni Ernst (R) to the billionaire Koch brothers.

MT-SEN (WALSH): Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) outraised Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) in the last fundraising quarter. Daines brought in $1.4 million and has $1.7 million in the bank, while Walsh brought in $1.25 million and has $700,000 left.

VA-SEN (WARNER): Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) bested former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gilespie (R) in fundraising this quarter. Warner raised $2.7 million, while Gillespie raised $1.9 million in the last quarter and has $3.1 million cash on hand. Warner didn’t announce how much he has in the bank.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): The Tea Party Patriots endorsed Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) primary challenger, radiologist Milton Wolf. “Dr. Milton Wolf embodies the values of personal freedom, economic freedom and a debt-free future,” TPP Chairman Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement. “He’s the right conservative candidate at the right time to tell the Establishment, ‘The Obama agenda stops here, and it stops now.’ ” Roberts, however, looks well-poised for reelection.

TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday launched a stand-alone website and Web ad touting his opposition to ObamaCare and directing voters to their polling place, as early voting begins in his state. His primary challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr, is due to get a boost from conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham in the final stretch, who will head to the state next week to campaign for him.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

DCCC/NRCC: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee beat out its Republican rival in second-quarter fundraising by $5.6 million, totaling $25.3 million in funds compared with the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $19.7 million. The DCCC continues to hold a cash-on-hand advantage as well, with $50.9 million, while the RCCC ends the quarter with $42.5 million.

NC-2 (ELLMERS): “American Idol” runner-up and Democratic candidate Clay Aiken reported raising $450,000 in second-quarter fundraising, topping Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who brought in $396,000 this quarter. Aiken did not release how much cash he has on hand, but Ellmers finished the second quarter with $405,000 in the bank.

WV-2 (OPEN): Republican candidate Alex Mooney picked up the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday in his battle against Democrat Nick Casey to replace Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

MN-8 (NOLAN): Stewart Mills, the GOP challenger to Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), announced raising $338,000 in the second quarter of this year, bringing his overall total funds to almost $1 million. Mills outraised Nolan, who brought in $283,000 this quarter, by $55,000.

CO-6 (COFFMAN): Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) bested Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff in the latest fundraising period, bringing in $405,000 since the primary report compared to Romanoff’s $377,000.

NJ-3 (OPEN): Republican candidate Tom MacArthur ended the second quarter with $1,078,946 cash on hand, a sum that includes $102,621 in contributions and a $1 million candidate loan, his third million-dollar loan to his own campaign. MacArthur’s campaign has spent just over $2 million total through the end of the quarter.

NY-19 (GIBSON): Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) posted his best fundraising quarter yet since first running for Congress, bringing in $819,000 in the second quarter. Gibson’s Democratic challenger, Sean Eldridge, raised $771,000 in total, a sum that includes a personal contribution of $375,000.

NY-11 (GRIMM): Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-N.Y.) fundraising is falling quickly; the congressman reported raising less than $75,000 in the second quarter and bringing in just $23,000 in the month of June. Grimm, who is facing 20 counts of federal indictments, still has more than $1 million in his campaign war chest, but he owes almost half of that amount in debts.

VA-7 (OPEN): Republican Dave Brat has raked in more than $400,000 since he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a shocking primary upset. The sum includes contributions from several conservative lawmakers, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). 

GA-1 (OPEN), GA-11 (OPEN): Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Bob Johnson (R) and Barry Loudermilk (R) , running in competitive primaries for retiring Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-Ga.) and Phil Gingrey’s (R-Ga.) seats. 

CA-17 (HONDA): Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) outraised general-election opponent Ro Khanna (D) once again, bringing in $525,000 to Khanna’s $338,000, and has $1.1 million in the bank to Khanna’s $870,000. Khanna also has $240,000 in debt from the primary. Khanna had outraised Honda early in the race but the tides have turned in the cash battle.

 

2016 WATCH

WARREN: Supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hoping to entice her to run for president in 2016 launched a website, Ready4Warren.com, on Tuesday and are planning a big push for members at this weekend’s liberal Netroots Nation conference. The group doesn’t have Warren’s blessing, and the senator has repeatedly said she has no interest in the race.

CLINTON: Ready for Hillary announced Tuesday it raised $2.5 million in the second quarter of the year — a 47 percent increase from what it raised in the first quarter.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Elizabeth Warren is to the left of the left of the Democratic party."

—Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), campaigning in West Virginia for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), while Warren supported Capito’s opponent, Natalie Tennant, at an event across the state  

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