By Aaron Blake - 04/16/10 12:21 AM EDT
Republican Senate candidates outraised their Democratic rivals in the first quarter.
Much of that money went to non-incumbents.
The top 10 GOP Senate candidates outraised the top 10 Democratic candidates $20 million to $16 million, even though Democrats had six incumbents on that list and Republicans had two.
Several of the most successful GOP fundraisers have clear paths to the November election.
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and former Reps. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) headlined a big day for the GOP in three of the top Senate races on the map.
All raised more than $2 million. Kirk and Toomey raised about twice as much as the Democrats they face and Portman raised four times more than his main Democratic competition: Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D).
But other Republicans aren’t so lucky. They raised the money, but they have to get through a competitive primary first.
In Florida, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) turned in the biggest quarter of all — $3.6 million — but he faces a primary with Gov. Charlie Crist, who raised $1.1 million.
In California, the three Republican candidates turned in their best quarters to date — a combined total of $4 million. But former Rep. Tom Campbell, businesswoman Carly Fiorina and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore have to get past the June 8 primary. Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) raised a party best of $2.4 million and has a clear field to November.
Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson set a new personal best with $733,000 raised, but that only brought him to equal financial footing with GOP front-runner Rand Paul. Both of them outraised Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who is running against state Attorney General Jack Conway in the Democratic primary and raised only $312,000 in the first quarter. Conway’s numbers weren’t available as of press time.
In New Hampshire, former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R), the party favorite, raised $671,000. But she also saw businessman Bill Binnie up his self-funding to about $3 million in the GOP primary. Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) raised $665,000 and has a clear primary.
Another self-funding Republican in Connecticut, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, plugged an additional $8 million of her own money into the race, bringing her total self-funding to $14 million, while former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) saw his receipts drop to $550,000. The winner gets state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who raised $1.9 million in his first quarter as a candidate and is not expected to face a difficult primary.
McCain ramped up his fundraising big time after the entry of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) into his primary, and was able to outraise the former congressman $2.2 million to $1 million.
In the race to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden raised $500,000 and self-funded the same amount, while businessman Danny Tarkanian (R) raised $445,000. Reid raised $1.8 million.
Also out west, former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) raised $816,000 but spent nearly all of it on her primary with Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who raised $119,000 and self-funded $100,000.
In the Kansas GOP primary, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) outraised Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for the first time, $375,000 to $346,000, in the race to replace Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who is running for governor.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) easily outraised the GOP field running against him. He pulled in $739,000, compared to $115,000 for attorney Mike Lee and $20,000 for former congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater. Bennett, however, still faces peril in the May 8 Utah GOP nominating convention.
While a lot of money is flooding into the GOP primaries, it’s going to the Democrats in Arkansas. There, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) raised $2 million for his race against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who raised $1.3 million. On the GOP side, Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) did not release his totals as of press time, while state Sen. Gilbert Baker raised $155,000.
In other races, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) outraised Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) $1.5 million to $1.3 million, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) outraised New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) $826,000 to $635,000, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and challenger Roxanne Conlin (D) both raised about $630,000, with Conlin self-funding another $250,000.
Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and David Vitter (R-La.) — the two most vulnerable GOP incumbents — raised $1.5 million and $1.1 million, respectively. Vitter raised nearly twice as much as Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), while Burr’s Democratic opponents didn’t release their totals as of press time.