Senate GOP group raises $3.4 million to close 2017

Senate GOP group raises $3.4 million to close 2017
© Greg Nash

The Senate GOP campaign committee raised about $3.4 million dollars in December as the group gears up for pivotal clashes in the 2018 midterms. 

While the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was outraised by its Democratic rivals in 2017, the GOP group's 2017 haul of $41.5 million amounts to the most it's ever raised during an off-year. The NRSC closed the year with about $15.3 million in cash on hand, according to numbers shared with The Hill ahead of its campaign finance filing.
 
The GOP committee also saw 69,200 new donors give in 2017, compared to about 50,000 new donors who gave for the first time in 2015. 
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Those new donors come as Republicans try to turn voters brought into the fold by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's election into reliable GOP voters — the NRSC last year offered donors the chance to win a trip to a New Year's Eve party at Trump's hotel and it regularly builds its fundraising list by evoking the president. 
 
Republicans face a friendly map in 2018 as they look to expand their one-vote majority in the Senate, as Democrats have to defend 10 seats in states that President Trump won in 2016. In five of those seats, Trump won the presidential vote by double-digits. And only two Republican-held seats currently appear to be in danger. 
 
But Democrats are emboldened by Trump's sinking favorability and historic midterm trends — as the president's party typically takes a hit in midterms. Plus, the GOP's two most vulnerable seats, in Arizona and Nevada, are considered some of the most contested races in 2018.