More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents

More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents
© Greg Nash

More than 40 House Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents in the first fundraising quarter of 2018, another booming fundraising period for the left.

By comparison, Republican challengers outraised Democratic incumbents in just two seats, according to the Cook Political Report.

The most recent trends build on strong fundraising quarters by Democrats that have prompted concerns from Republicans about their ability to hold the House.

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“Even before last week, Democratic donors had been demonstrating far more enthusiasm on a race-by-race basis, a fact reflected in the newest House fundraising reports. The newest [Federal Election Commission] FEC filings spell danger for Republicans, ” Cook election analyst David Wasserman wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday.

“That's going to force the [National Republican Campaign Committee] NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund to bail out a lot of cash-strapped GOP candidates come the fall.”

On top of the quarterly reports, 15 Republican incumbents had less cash on hand than their likely Democratic challengers, according to Open Secrets.

One of the most striking examples is Democrat Dan McCready, who’s been a consistently strong fundraiser and a top recruit for the party.

He raised about $615,000 in the first quarter of the year, nearly doubling the haul of Rep. Robert PittengerRobert Miller PittengerNorth Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race North Carolina board calls for new election in contested House race Obama political arm to merge with Holder-run group MORE (R-N.C.), who brought in about $350,000.

The clean energy expert also has a massive cash advantage, with more than $1.3 million on hand. Pittenger has about $253,000 in the bank, which he will need not only for the general but also to get through a tough primary.

Pittenger will face a rematch against Republican Mark Harris, who lost by just 134 votes in the 2016 primary.

Those dynamics have prompted the Cook analysts to change ratings in seven races in favor of Democrats.

The race for the Arizona House seat former held by Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R) — who resigned after reportedly discussing paying a staffer to act as a surrogate mother — shifted from solid Republican to likely Republican.

That election is being fought on clear GOP turf, as the district is considered a Republican stronghold and President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE won it in 2016 by 21 points.

Yet recent polling is showing the race tightening. One survey last week found Democrat Hiral Tipirneni trailing Republican Debbie Lesko by 10 points, while two polls released this week — one a non-partisan poll from Emerson College and another internal poll by the Democrat’s campaign — found the race within the margin of error.

Other races that shifted to the left include those involving Republican Reps. French HillJames (French) French HillRestore Pell Grant eligibility to people in prison Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown Rep. French Hill wins after unexpected challenge MORE (Ark.), Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenIllinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Lauren Underwood becomes youngest ever black woman to be sworn in to Congress MORE (Ill.), Jack Bergman (Mich.), David JoyceDavid Patrick JoyceThe STATES Act will expose flawed marijuana legacy Bipartisan bill to protect legal cannabis businesses introduced EPA chief doubles down on Trump's commitment to fully fund Great Lakes program MORE (Ohio), Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave Trump says Navy SEAL charged with war crimes will be moved to 'less restrictive confinement' House conservatives ask Trump to declassify documents underlying Mueller investigation MORE (S.C.) and Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Ethics investigation finds outgoing House Republican made staff unload groceries, dog-sit Trump signs bill naming post office after soldier whose parents he attacked MORE (Va.). All of those Republicans were outraised by their likely Democratic opponents.

Democratic candidates are the leading fundraisers in 15 open seats currently held by a Republican. Republicans lead in just three currently Democratic-held open seats, according to Cook.

Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats in the midterms to retake the majority in the House. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Democrats currently have a 5.5 percentage point lead over Republicans on a generic congressional ballot.

Democrats are optimistic that a combination of historical trends, which typically find the incumbent president's party losing seats in a midterm election, as well as President Trump's dismal favorability rating could contribute to a strong showing in November.

--Updated at 12:55 p.m.