Some embattled candidates get a boost from second-quarter

A host of campaigns have released fundraising figures ahead of the July 15 deadline for the second quarter in the hopes of winning attention and more money.

Embattled Republican Senate candidates Mark Kirk and Sen. David Vitter both had good second quarters, while Republican Rob Portman appeared to open a large fundraising lead in his fight for an Ohio Senate seat.

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Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick (Idaho) also had a good second quarter, while observers are waiting to see whether former President Bill Clinton’s endorsement will lead to a money haul for Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who is taking on Sen. Michael Benett (D-Colo.).

Vitter and Kirk

The second quarter numbers put up by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) both came amid turmoil for their respective campaigns.

Vitter raised more than $1 million in the second quarter and his campaign said it will report $5.5 million in cash on hand. This came despite a run of bad press over his ex-aide Brian Furer, who allegedly held his former girlfriend at knife-point in 2008. Furer remained on Vitter’s staff until ABC News reported the incidents in June and Furer resigned.

News about Furer broke late in the quarter, so the real test will come in September when the third quarter closes. But Vitter's $5.5 million in cash on hand is expected to give him an edge over Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La) who has not yet released his second quarter figures. Melancon raised $543,000 in the first quarter and reported $2.3 million cash on hand as of the end of March.


Another problem for Vitter comes in the form of a last-minute primary challenge from former Louisiana state Supreme Court Judge Chet Traylor. The August 28 primary could start eating into Vitter's current cash advantage.

Kirk, who has been fighting charges he exaggerated his military record, raised a healthy $2.3 million in the second quarter.

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias has pulled even with Kirk in recent polls, but Giannoulias has problems of his own related to the Spring collapse of a family-owned bank. Giannoulias has yet to release his numbers for the quarter

Portman

The fundraising gap appears to be widening in Ohio’s Senate contest, where former GOP Rep. Rob Portman raised $2.65 million this quarter, while Democrat and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher's raised $1.1 million.

It’s not a huge disparity until you look at the cash on hand numbers. Portman’s campaign said it will report $8.8 million, while Fisher will report around $1 million.

Minnesota

National money is pouring into Minnesota’s 6th district, making it the leading candidate for most expensive congressional race in the nation.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann had a monster fundraising quarter, raising $1.7 million. But Democratic challenger Tarryl Clark countered with an impressive quarter herself, raising $910,000. Clark has the backing of EMILY's List, which has been soliciting its members on behalf of Clark's campaign.

Neither campaign has released its cash on hand figures ahead of next week's filing deadline.

Minnick

Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) continued his impressive fundraising in a district that is one of the NRCC's top targets this fall. Minnick raised $410,000 in the second quarter. His campaign said it will report $1.1 million cash on hand.

Minnick's Republican opponent, state Rep. Raul Labrador has not yet released his totals and Democrats are anticipating lackluster numbers. Labrador defeated the national party's favored candidate, Vaughn Ward, in a May primary.

New Hampshire

The Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire is getting even more interesting courtesy of Republican Bill Binnie's second quarter fundraising numbers.

Binnie is one of four GOP candidates in a primary race that Republican Kelly Ayotte appeared to have a lock on earlier this year. But Ayotte has been facing criticism for not uncovering a mortgage fraud scheme that occurred while she was state attorney general.

Binnie is pumping a portion of his personal fortune into the race, but he managed to raise some $550,000 in the second quarter. That leaves him with more than $1.1 million cash on hand, according to the campaign.

Ayotte raised $720,000 for the quarter, but her campaign has not released its cash on hand number.

Other second quarter fundraising questions have yet to be answered:

Romanoff

Will Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff see a Bill Clinton effect?

The former president's surprise endorsement of Romanoff in his Democratic primary against Sen. Michael Bennet (D) came late in the quarter. But Clinton did pen a fundraising email for Romanoff, who is in serious need of a solid fundraising quarter.

Romanoff raised $385,647 during the first quarter to Bennet’s $1.4 million. Neither candidate has released second quarter numbers, but Bennet was sitting on $6 million after last quarter.

Nevada

Can Republican Sharron Angle keep pace?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) is going to raise a boatload of money this cycle--his goal is $25 million. And while Angle raised some $1 million in the first week after capturing the Republican nomination in Nevada, she will need every penny to match what national Democrats are planning to spend to hold onto Reid's seat.

Florida

What will Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's haul look like?

Now that he's an independent, Crist faces pressure to show that he can still raise cash from somewhere for his Senate race. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) reported more than $1 million raised for the second quarter. No numbers yet from Republican Marco Rubio.

--This story was updated at 7:45 p.m.