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 CornynDeal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate must approve Justice Served Act to achieve full potential of DNA evidence The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting 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 MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families 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 (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (N.Y.), $315,000 from Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), a $250,000 gift from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE House backs resolution expressing support for ICE MORE (N.Y.), $250,000 from Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusJudge boots Green Party from Montana ballot in boost to Tester Clients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana MORE (Mont.), $200,000 from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (D-Calif.), $200,000 from Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowLobbying world The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' MORE (Mich.) and $120,000 from Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJohn Kerry: Trump 'surrendered lock, stock and barrel' to Putin's deceptions Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks Will Democrats realize that Americans are tired of war? 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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDeal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting MORE (Ill.), in second place with $485,000 in giving, and Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinConservatives see Kethledge as 'Gorsuch 2.0' How House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting 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 CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe real disease: Price transparency key to saving Medicare and lowering the debt Mr. President, let markets help save Medicare Pension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands MORE (R-Okla.) ranked a close second after transferring $150,000 from his campaign account in September. 

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrCongress should build upon the ABLE Act, giving more Americans with disabilities access to financial tools Christine Todd Whitman: Trump should step down over Putin press conference GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki MORE (N.C.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoRepublican bill aims to deter NATO members from using Russian pipeline Overnight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Senate adds members to pro-NATO group MORE (Wyo.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsKey GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum Homeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report MORE (Ala.) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (S.D.) all gave $100,000 from their campaign accounts, fundraising reports show.

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranLobbying world This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review MORE (Kan.), who is running to succeed Cornyn as NRSC chairman, gave $55,000 from his campaign committee in October. Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Appeals court nominees languish in Senate as Flake demands tariff vote On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending MORE (Ga.) and James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs Senate moves to start negotiations on defense policy bill 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 CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTodd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind Mississippi Democrat drops Senate bid MORE (Miss.), who would become chairman of the Appropriations Committee, gave $30,000 from his leadership PAC, the Senate Victory Fund. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (Iowa), who could become chairman of the Finance or Judiciary panel, gave $30,000 in contributions from his Hawkeye PAC.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDon't place all your hopes — or fears — on a new Supreme Court justice The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting On The Money: Fed chief lays out risks of trade war | Senate floats new Russia sanctions amid Trump backlash | House passes bill to boost business investment 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.