Dem primaries clear up after second-quarter fundraising

A clearer picture emerged in a number of competitive Democratic Senate primaries Wednesday after second-quarter fundraising numbers were released.

In Kentucky, New York and Ohio, things have begun to shake out, with candidates creating some separation and favorites emerging.

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Here are the highlights from the Federal Election Commission reports available by press time Wednesday:

Senate highlights

Kentucky: Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D) fell far behind state Attorney General Jack Conway (D), raising just $303,000 to Conway’s more than $1.3 million. Mongiardo, the 2004 nominee, raised less than he did in the first quarter, when he took in $430,000.

There was no word from Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) as of press time. Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) announced last week that he raised $600,000 for his exploratory committee, and Bunning has suggested his total is lower than that. Bunning raised just $263,000 in the first quarter.

New York: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has built on her financial advantage over Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in their forthcoming primary match-up.

Gillibrand raised $1.5 million (after a $2.3 million first quarter) in the second quarter and increased her cash on hand to $3.2 million. Maloney, who is still technically a House candidate, raised $577,000 through her House committee and banked $1.7 million.

Gillibrand has almost a two-to-one cash advantage, which isn’t as big as most incumbents’ at this juncture but is still significant. The real question is how much Maloney will raise in the third quarter, which will include next week’s fundraiser with former President Clinton.

Ohio: Former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) raised $1.7 million and banked $4.3 million, while Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) raised $900,000 and banked $1.5 million.

But the story again was Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s (D) pitiful fundraising. After earning groans for her $207,000 performance in the first quarter, she pulled only slight more in the second — $228,000.

Expect the calls for her exit to continue, especially with Portman building a big money edge over Fisher.

Kansas: In a big GOP primary, Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) outraised Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) for the second straight quarter with $392,000 raised and $3.1 million on hand.

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Tiahrt raised $322,000 and banked $1.4 million. He continues to fall behind after beginning the race with less cash to transfer from his House account.

The winner will be a strong favorite to take gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback’s (R-Kan.) seat.

Missouri: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) outraised and outbanked Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan one quarter after an embarrassing showing.

Blunt raised $1.4 million, which was more than twice his $560,000 first-quarter pull, and he has $1.8 million on hand. Carnahan raised $970,000 and transferred another $60,000 from a linked committee, and she had $1.4 million cash on hand.

In one quarter, Blunt has turned a $250,000 cash deficit into a $400,000 edge.

Colorado: Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) turned in another strong quarter, raising $1.2 million, while Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier (R) raised a pedestrian $142,000. Frazier will not turn any heads with his total, as some Republicans had hoped.

Louisiana: Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) outraised likely opponent Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) three-to-one. Vitter raised $1.2 million to the Democrat’s $400,000 and has a $2 million cash advantage with $3.2 million in the bank.

Utah: Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) raised $731,000 and banked $933,000 for his primary match-up with state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) and possibly others. Shurtleff raised $105,000 and banked $104,000.

Texas: Houston Mayor Bill White (D) continued to assert his presence, raising $1 million and self-funding $821,000 for gubernatorial candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) yet-to-be-vacated seat.

California: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) raised $1.5 million and has $5.4 million cash on hand. She is expected to face former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R).

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Arkansas: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) raised $1.2 million.


House highlights

Looking strong:

• Among Frontline members, Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) raised $471,000, Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Mich.) raised $344,000, Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) raised $431,000, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) raised $370,000 and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.) raised $350,000.
• Among challengers, GOP Assemblyman Van Tran raised $250,000 for his race against Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); former Delaware Lt. Gov. John Carney outraised Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), $262,000 to $124,000; Independent-turned Democrat Maureen Reed raised $232,000 against Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.); and Democrat Doug Pike banked $630,000 for the now-open seat of Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.).

Primary clarity:

•Republican Jim Ward raised $116,000 in Rep. Harry Mitchell’s (D-Ariz.) district, assuring a tough primary for repeat GOP candidate David Schweikert.
•Democrat Francine Busby outraised fellow Democrat Tracy Emblem, $161,000 to $22,000, to take control in the primary to face Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). Busby lost to Bilbray in a 2006 special election.

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• In Kansas, newcomers Traci Mann and Jim Barnett each raised at least $160,000 in the primary for Moran’s open House seat, ensuring that GOPers Tim Huelskamp and Rob Wasinger, who joined the race early, will have competition.
• In Maryland, state Sen. Andy Harris (R) didn’t turn in a big quarter, with just $118,000 raised. State Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R) is keeping a close eye on the race and might see an opening.
•Former state Rep. Luke Messer (R) is the most financially formidable primary opponent for Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) so far, raising $205,000 in the second quarter. That’s more than Burton ($141,000) and three other primary challengers (all under $70,000) took in.

Getting better:

•Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), with the toughest reelection battle in the country, upped his fundraising from $147,000 in the first quarter to $365,000 in the second. He’ll need every penny.
•Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet (D) raised $201,000 in the second quarter after raising just $11,000 in a short first quarter. He should be a strong opponent for Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.).
•Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) increased his total raised from $28,000 last quarter to $76,000 this quarter. He raised nearly as much as former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) for the open seat of gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii).