Senate Dems flex fundraising muscle; House GOP freshmen come up short

Democratic Senate candidates — including those incumbents most at risk in 2012 — proved themselves fundraising forces to be reckoned with during the third quarter of the year, while many first-term Republicans had a hard time cashing in.

Fundraising reports from July through September show that despite the anti-incumbent mood and President Obama’s difficulties keeping his approval ratings afloat, Democrats are still checking the boxes they need to be competitive in next year’s House and Senate contests.

ADVERTISEMENT
In Florida, Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick CMS nominee breezes through confirmation hearing MORE (D) pulled in just under $2 million, while his GOP opponents topped out at about one-half million. Democratic Sens. Jon TesterJon TesterPoll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate GOP loses top Senate contenders MORE (Mont.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillA guide to the committees: Senate Juan Williams: Senate GOP begins to push Trump away Dem senator: I may face 2018 primary from Tea Party-esque progressives MORE (Mo.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowA guide to the committees: Senate Trump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments MORE (Mich.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions MORE (Ohio) all raised about $1.2 million for their difficult reelection battles, while Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.) raked in $1.7 million even without a clear GOP opponent, and now has a $7 million war chest.

One of the eye-catching fundraisers was Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDeVos: 'My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media' Protesters crash McConnell's speech DNC candidate Harrison drops out, backs Perez for chairman MORE, whose $3.1 million haul dwarfed any other candidate just six weeks after she officially entered the Democratic primary to take on incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). And like Tester and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), who’s running against incumbent Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerCornyn: Border wall 'makes absolutely no sense' in some areas Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare MORE (R-Nev.), Warren outraised her GOP opponent in the race by about 2-to-1.

Not all Democrats fared as well. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) raised just $443,000, less than the $583,000 that Republican front-runner Jon Bruning pulled in. Stabenow was almost outraised by former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.). And Sherrod Brown’s $1.2 million wasn’t enough to outdo Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who brought in $1.5 million.

And Republicans — especially those running in competitive primaries — also demonstrated some prowess. In Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst totaled $4.6 million during the quarter, although about half of it came from his own pockets. Meanwhile, GOP opponents Ted CruzTed CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Cruz predicts another Supreme Court vacancy this year Cruz: Democratic base is 'bat-crap crazy' MORE and Tom Lepper both raised about $1.1 million and have millions more in the bank.

Republicans got a head start in a number of open-seat races where the Democratic field has yet to come together. Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) brought in $650,000 for his bid to replace Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

And, in Arizona, Rep. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeGreens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R) raised $550,000. That amounted to half of what primary opponent Wil Cardon brought in when Cardon’s $770,000 personal loan is included. Flake has almost $2.3 million on hand for the race to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R). Democrat Don Bivens, who entered the race during the third quarter, pulled in $340,000, but Democrats are still looking to other candidates to run.

In the House, many first-term Republicans had a tough time building up the resources to fend off challengers. 

Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), who served for more than a decade, lost in 2006 and then took back his seat in 2010, raised only $147,000, less than half of the $359,000 amassed during the quarter by Democrat Ann Kuster, whom Bass defeated by fewer than 4,000 votes in 2010 and who is challenging him again.

In Arizona, former Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickWomen make little gains in new Congress McCain wins sixth Senate term In Arizona, history and voter registration data gives GOP edge MORE (D) raised more than Rep. Paul GosarPaul GosarA guide to the committees: House Trump administration doesn't care about the housing needs of low-income people Freedom Caucus meets with senators on ObamaCare replacement MORE (R), whom Kirkpatrick is targeting for a rematch after he unseated her in 2010. Kirkpatrick now has more than a $100,000 advantage over Gosar heading into the fourth quarter.

In a special House race in Oregon, where primary voters will pick their candidates on Nov. 8, Democratic front-runner Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne BonamiciA guide to the committees: House Liberal Dems warn against narrow focus on rural or coastal voters 'Will on the Hill' pokes fun at 2016 election MORE reaffirmed her dominance over the other primary candidates, bringing in a striking $600,000. Democrats Brad Akavian and Brad Witt each raised less than $200,000, while Republican Rob Cornilles pulled in just over $500,000.

But in Iowa, where redistricting has created an incumbent-versus-incumbent death match, Rep. Tom Latham (R) has $1.7 million cash on hand — four times as much as Rep. Leonard Boswell (D).