Lure of taking majority hasn’t spurred Senate Republicans to out-raise Dems

Senior Senate Republicans have sat on flush campaign accounts despite prodding from National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page Juan Williams: Trump's 100 days wound GOP MORE, who has pleaded with colleagues to send funds to aid GOP candidates in battleground states.

While Cornyn (Texas) has motivated some of his more junior colleagues to open up their war chests in pursuit of a Republican Senate majority, he has had less success than his counterpart, Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayTrump said he would create ‘more jobs and better wages’ — he can start with federal contractors Sanders, Dems introduce minimum wage bill Week ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's FDA pick MORE (Wash.), chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

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The disparity in motivation has helped Senate Democrats out-raise Republicans by $14 million this cycle. It has also strengthened the chances Democrats will hold onto the majority, despite dire prognostications by election handicappers at the start of the election cycle.

The DSCC reported $114 million in total receipts through Oct. 17, compared to the NRSC’s reported $100 million, according to data compiled by the Federal Election Commission.

Since August, Murray has collected a $1 million contribution from Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCruz: 'Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown' GOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall MORE (N.Y.), $315,000 from Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), a $250,000 gift from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief Dems urge Trump to include Northeast Corridor tunnel project in infrastructure bill MORE (N.Y.), $250,000 from Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusChanging of the guard at DC’s top lobby firm GOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through MORE (Mont.), $200,000 from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinTrump, lower court nominees need American Bar Association review This week: Congress returns to government shutdown fight Hotel industry details plans to fight Airbnb MORE (D-Calif.), $200,000 from Sen. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowMedicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians Members help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC Senate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight MORE (Mich.) and $120,000 from Sen. John KerryJohn KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' MORE (Mass.), according to fundraising reports.

Six of the seven biggest donors to the DSCC are senior Democratic senators, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website that tracks fundraising. 

The OpenSecrets list, which does not include the most recent data and thus missed Schumer’s donation, ranked Sen. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) No. 1 with $600,000 in contributions. It showed Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinRob Thomas: Anti-Trump celebs have become 'white noise' Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Senate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general MORE (Ill.), in second place with $485,000 in giving, and Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinFor the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share What the Iran-Contra investigation can teach us about Russia probe Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (Mich.) in third with $400,000.

A list of the NRSC’s top 20 contributors published by OpenSecrets did not include a single Republican senator. 

The biggest congressional contributor to the NRSC has been Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell warns Dems: No 'poison pills' in funding measure UN contacted Trump administration on ObamaCare repeal: report Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (Ky.), who gave two $61,600 contributions to the committee in August. He gave an additional $30,000 from his Bluegrass Committee PAC, according to a review of fundraising documents by The Hill.

Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (R-Okla.) ranked a close second after transferring $150,000 from his campaign account in September. 

Sens. Richard BurrRichard BurrBurr: US in new Cold War with Russia Senator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation GOP senator hits back at criticism of Russia probe MORE (N.C.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoPoll: Sanders most popular senator in the US The animal advocate Trump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments MORE (Wyo.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump and Sessions peddle fear instead of solutions to crime Senate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general C-SPAN to air Trump travel ban arguments live MORE (Ala.) and John ThuneJohn ThuneOvernight Tech: FCC chief poised to unveil plans on net neutrality | Uber eyes flying cars | Media rules under scrutiny Groups urge lawmakers to oppose 'devastating' net neutrality rollback McConnell signals Republican-only path on tax reform MORE (S.D.) all gave $100,000 from their campaign accounts, fundraising reports show.

Sen. Jerry MoranJerry MoranAt the table: The importance of advocating for ABLE GOP lawmakers lead way in holding town halls Yahoo reveals new details about security MORE (Kan.), who is running to succeed Cornyn as NRSC chairman, gave $55,000 from his campaign committee in October. Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGeorgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote Medicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians Five takeaways from the Georgia special election MORE (Ga.) and James InhofeJames InhofeTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Optimism rising for infrastructure deal Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (Okla.) each gave $50,000 at the end of September.

But many senior GOP senators who would be poised to take over as committee chairmen if Senate control flipped have not given major donations, despite pleading from Cornyn.

Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranPicking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Overnight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline Senators ask to include visas for Afghans in spending bill MORE (Miss.), who would become chairman of the Appropriations Committee, gave $30,000 from his leadership PAC, the Senate Victory Fund. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyTrump, lower court nominees need American Bar Association review Trump eyeing second Supreme Court seat Grassley: Another Supreme Court vacancy likely this summer MORE (Iowa), who could become chairman of the Finance or Judiciary panel, gave $30,000 in contributions from his Hawkeye PAC.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchTrump signs order to end ‘egregious abuse of federal power’ with national monuments Congress nears deal on help for miners GOP, Trump administration huddle on tax reform MORE (Utah), who could vie with Grassley for the Finance gavel, gave $20,000 from Orrin PAC, according to a review of fundraising reports and data compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

The relative lack of generosity from colleagues has been a persistent source of frustration for Cornyn, who sat them down at a meeting at NRSC headquarters in late July for a pep talk.

He showed them a slide illustrating how much more money Democratic senators contributed to their party committee compared to Republicans.

“The Democrats have always been more aggressive at that than we have. What I did is, I showed them what they’ve done and I showed them where the gap was and challenged them to step up,” he told The Hill at the time.

The locker-room huddle appeared to have an impact. 

Burr, DeMint, Isakson, Inhofe, Barrasso, Sessions and Thune made their large donations when they returned to Washington after the August recess.

Burr has also given $45,000 from his leadership PAC. Barrasso, Inhofe and Thune have given another $30,000 from their leadership accounts.

Retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) gave two $48,000 contributions from her campaign account in early August, fundraising records show.

Prodding fiscally conservative Republican senators to give lavishly from their personal campaign funds to the party’s cause has been a perennial chore for NRSC chairmen.

In the fall of 2005, then-NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) held a series of one-on-one meetings with colleagues to urge them to narrow the fundraising gap with Democrats. 

During a meeting at NRSC headquarters the following year, Dole handed out orange-and-black toolboxes to colleagues to deliver a not-so-subtle message: Get to work. The toolboxes contained hammers, slide rules and tape measures.

After the 2004 election cycle, former NRSC Chairman George Allen (Va.) groused about how difficult it was to raise money from colleagues. He thought himself to be operating at a disadvantage because Republican caucus rules did not require members to give to the party committee.

“It was very tough,” he said at the time.

Senate Republican aides note, however, that lawmakers can help the NRSC in other ways. 

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), for example, who could resume his chairmanship of the Banking Committee, has not transferred much money to the committee, but he has raised substantial amounts for Senate Republican candidates.

McConnell has raised over $3 million for Senate Republican candidates this cycle, according to a senior GOP aide. He has hosted or been the featured speaker at over 80 breakfasts, lunches, receptions and dinners for candidates.

— This story was updated at 1:25 p.m.