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 CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines 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 MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (N.Y.), $315,000 from Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), a $250,000 gift from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocrats turn on Al Franken Report: Franken will resign Thursday Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign MORE (N.Y.), $250,000 from Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBooker tries to find the right lane  Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges MORE (Mont.), $200,000 from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (D-Calif.), $200,000 from Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments MORE (Mich.) and $120,000 from Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: report 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 DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (Ill.), in second place with $485,000 in giving, and Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinCongress: The sleeping watchdog Congress must not give companies tax reasons to move jobs overseas A lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies 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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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 CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground MORE (R-Okla.) ranked a close second after transferring $150,000 from his campaign account in September. 

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE (N.C.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoScalise: House, Senate ‘pretty close’ on tax bill Top GOP senator: House and Senate 'not that far apart' on tax bill Sunday shows preview: Republicans take victory lap on taxes MORE (Wyo.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE (Ala.) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Dems push for more money for opioid fight MORE (S.D.) all gave $100,000 from their campaign accounts, fundraising reports show.

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell works to salvage tax bill GOP in furious push for tax-reform votes Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday 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 IsaksonSenate ethics panel wants details on sexual harassment allegations Senate leaders push tax debate into Friday Senate Ethics Committee opens 'preliminary inquiry' into Franken allegations MORE (Ga.) and James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGOP senator on backing Moore: ‘It’s a numbers game’ Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator Senate panel advances controversial environmental nominee 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 CochranObstruction of justice watch: Trump attacks the FBI America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill 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 GrassleyGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Thanks to the farm lobby, the US is stuck with a broken ethanol policy 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 HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney 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.