The 2016 election season is here, but some senators are better prepared than others according to newly filed campaign finance reports.
A number of swing-state Republicans already have big war chests heading into what could be tough elections. But some of their GOP colleagues aren’t as well stocked; the two high-profile Democrats facing the toughest races, Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE (D-Nev.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBuild Back Better Act must include funding to restore forests, make communities resilient and create jobs Interior reverses Trump, moves BLM headquarters back to DC Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE (D-Colo.), also aren’t cash-rich.
Here are the winners and losers of the final fundraising quarter of 2014.
Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R-Ohio)
A prodigious fundraiser, Portman begins 2015 with $5.8 million in the bank after raising a half-million dollars in the last three months of 2014.
While Democrats sort through who they’ll recruit to take him on — and face possibility of a contested primary that could drain their eventual nominee’s campaign coffers — the first-term senator is building a massive war chest.
With Ohio set to be a presidential swing state again and White HOuse campaigns subsequently driving up advertising costs, early money is that much more important.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
Toomey pulled in more than $700,000 and has a mighty $5.8 million war chest as he braces for what’s likely to be a tough race.
That’s a lot more than most likely opponent, former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), has in the bank. Toomey’s 2010 opponent, who’s coming back for a rematch, has $1.6 million left in his Senate account. It’s a strong start but one that pales in comparison to Toomey’s.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMilley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Fla.)
Rubio has $3.3 million in the bank, bringing in $340,000 in the last quarter as he gears up for either a White House bid or a tough reelection campaign.
That hefty chunk of change will be crucial if the Floridian decides to stay put and run for reelection, as his poll numbers show he may face a tough race either way.
Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida Rep. Val Demings officially enters Senate race against Rubio Demings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio Demings planning to run for Senate instead of Florida governor MORE (D-Fla.), both prodigious fundraisers with personal wealth, are eying the seat as well. Murphy has more than a half-million dollars in the bank, while Grayson has less than $50,000. Grayson has a national donor network and the ability to self-fund if he chooses.
There’s a good chance the Floridian decides to pass on reelection to run for president. But if he opts for the Senate race, his war chest promises he’ll be formidable.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Reid begins 2015 with $1.5 million in the bank, less than half of the amount he had at the beginning of 2009.
The minority leader dedicated his fundraising efforts to helping his colleagues and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last cycle, and can raise millions with a shrug. He and his opponent are unlikely to be hurting for cash next year if he’s in a close race.
But the senator’s low fundraising totals aren’t helping the nagging rumors that he might not be all-in for reelection, despite his insistence that he’ll definitely run after suffering severe injuries early this year.
Burr starts 2015 with just $750,000 in the bank, having raised just $50,000 in the final fundraising quarter of 2014.
That low figure may be deceptive, as Burr may have laid low intentionally last year in order to help his new home-state colleague, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), pull in campaign funds.
The senator has moved to quell concerns that he might retire, reportedly pulling in $1 million in a single fundraiser last month. But he’ll have to keep up a strong pace if he hopes to have a big fundraising advantage in his reelection bid.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
The former DSCC chairman begins the election cycle with $1.2 million, not a huge sum as he heads into what could be a tough and expensive reelection in another presidential swing state.
Like Reid, Bennet’s focus last year was on helping his colleagues, and he has a deep fundraising network to draw from following his time at the DSCC. But he’ll need to start ramping up for his own efforts if he wants to start his race with a cash edge.