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.

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In Florida, Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTed Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers MORE (D) pulled in just under $2 million, while his GOP opponents topped out at about one-half million. Democratic Sens. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Overnight Defense: Over 500 amendments proposed for defense bill | Measures address transgender troops, Yemen war | Trump taps acting VA chief as permanent secretary Not only do we need to support veterans, but their caregivers, too MORE (Mont.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillCalif. gov candidates battle for second place Senate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee Five votes to watch in fight over Trump's CIA nominee MORE (Mo.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary MORE (Mich.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Senate Dems call for probe into why Trump has not issued Russia sanctions MORE (Ohio) all raised about $1.2 million for their difficult reelection battles, while Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Poll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger 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 Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Elizabeth Warren urges grads to fight for 'what is decent' in current political climate Tomi Lahren responds to genealogist's investigation of her family: 'She failed miserably' 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 Arthur HellerKennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive McConnell: Midterms will be 'very challenging' for GOP Singer Jason Mraz: Too much political 'combat' in Washington 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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas 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 FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ Trump yuks it up to deflect Senate critics 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 KirkpatrickGold Star father attacked by Trump steps up role in Dem primaries House Dems highlight promising new candidates Vulnerable House incumbents build up war chests MORE (D) raised more than Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOvernight Defense: Over 500 amendments proposed for defense bill | Measures address transgender troops, Yemen war | Trump taps acting VA chief as permanent secretary Arizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Some doubt McCarthy or Scalise will ever lead House GOP 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 Marie BonamiciCongress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Overnight Energy: Two top Pruitt aides resign at EPA | 17 states sue EPA over car emissions rules | Volkswagen to pay West Virginia .5M over emissions cheating House Dems question Pruitt over possible plans for Tulsa EPA office 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).