By Aaron Blake - 10/16/09 12:31 AM EDT
Republicans have been talking an increasingly big game about 2010 over the last three months, and they have hyped candidates in many seats that weren’t previously targeted. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to insist they will have more than enough money to weather Republican attacks and pick their spots on offense.
With most of the candidates in place, it was the first chance for both sides to lay it all on the table, and they did so — with mixed results.
The Hill reviews the highlights of the fundraising reports:
New candidates make a splash
Republicans have hyped challengers for everyone from Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) to Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) — both of whom didn’t seem likely targets at the beginning of the year.
Tim Bishop’s opponent, businessman Randy Altschuler (R), raised a strong $209,000 and self-funded $450,000. Sanford Bishop’s opponent, state Rep. Mike Keown (R), will take a bit longer to get there after raising $107,000 in two months.
Some pleasant surprises for the GOP included Rep. John Boccieri (D) challenger Jim Renacci raising more than $200,000, and new opponents for Reps. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and John Tanner (D-Tenn.) both outraising the incumbents.
Republicans Scott Rigell and Ben Loyola both wound up putting together about a half-million dollars for their runs at freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.). Rigell raised $227,000 and self-funded $225,000, while Loyola raised $50,000 and self-funded $500,000. Interestingly, Loyola seems to be betting the farm on his candidacy. Consultant Aaron Gulbransen said Thursday that Loyola recently sold a division of his company, Loyola Enterprises, for a few million dollars.
Others weren’t so fortunate. Businessman Jon Barela (R), a highly touted recruit who is waging an uphill campaign in a Democratic-trending district held by freshman Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), raised a pedestrian $107,000 in his first full quarter, after raising $73,000 in just three weeks last quarter. And Springfield, Ore., Mayor Sid Leiken (R), who has fallen out of favor after several stumbles early on, raised an anemic $18,000 in the third quarter for his run at Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
Honest-to-God primaries in Kentucky
Trey Grayson (R), the Kentucky secretary of state who is the early favorite to replace Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), turned in one of the most disappointing performances of the quarter with just $640,000 raised. But the harm was mitigated a bit when state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) announced he had raised just slightly more — $673,000 — after raising $1.3 million last quarter.
The real winners in all this are their primary opponents. Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) son, Rand Paul (R), tapped many of his father’s donors to raise more than $1 million, and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) turned in an improved total of $514,000 for the quarter. Mongiardo will be happy to have the conversation be about someone else’s disappointing fundraising instead of his own this time.
Portman outraises Fisher two-to-one
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) has undergone her own fundraising troubles, raising less than half a million dollars through six months and reorganizing her finance team recently. While Fisher has already built a big lead over her, he probably could have put the nail in Brunner’s coffin with a strong quarter. Instead, Brunner reasserted her commitment to the race Thursday.
Portman now has $5.1 million cash on hand, which is three times more than Fisher’s $1.6 million.
GOP candidates take leads in key states
Ohio isn’t the only open-seat battleground where the GOP asserted itself this quarter. The party’s candidates also raised the most money in Florida (Gov. Charlie Crist’s $2.4 million), Illinois (Rep. Mark Kirk’s $1.6 million), Missouri (Rep. Roy Blunt’s $1.3 million) and New Hampshire (Kelly Ayotte’s $613,000).
Meanwhile, former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) and investment banker Peter Schiff (R) both outraised Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) $900,000, while another Republican, Linda McMahon, self-funded $2 million. Dodd’s staff notes he missed a good chunk of the quarter due to surgery for early-stage prostate cancer.
Other Democratic incumbents post strong numbers
Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) all turned in more than a million dollars, with the first three closer to $2 million for the quarter. Only Specter has an opponent who is coming close to matching him at this point, but he still outraised former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), $1.8 million to $1.5 million.
Specter and Bennet also far outraised their primary opponents, as Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) raised $758,000, and former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) raised more than $200,000.
The not-so-Young raising not-so-much
Reps. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), the two longest-serving Republicans in the House, continue to leave their reelections in doubt. The former is plagued by retirement rumors and raised less than $4,000, and the latter is doing almost nothing to rebuild his war chest, which stood at $1.5 million at this point last cycle. Young’s cash on hand actually decreased to $123,000 at the end of the third quarter.
Thankfully for them, their opponents aren’t taking advantage. Highly touted recruit and Florida state Sen. Charlie Justice (D) turned in a second-straight lackluster fundraising quarter ($77,000), and Alaska state Rep. Harry Crawford (D) reported raising only about $25,000 in his first month-plus.