More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents

More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents
© Greg Nash

More than 50 House Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents in the second fundraising quarter of 2018, showing continued enthusiasm on the left ahead of midterm elections this year.

The number of Democratic challengers outraising Republican incumbents marked a record for this cycle, surpassing the more than 40 Democratic candidates who had attracted more funds than Republicans in the previous fundraising quarter, according to newly filed fundraising reports analyzed by The Hill.

Twenty-one Democrats raised more than $1 million each between April and June.

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The Democrats who outraised GOP incumbents largely hail from California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio — all states with top swing seats that will be critical for Democrats to win in order to take back the House in November. The party needs to flip a net of 23 seats to regain the House majority.

California is in the lead, with eight Democrats who brought in more than Republican incumbents, five of whom are running for seats representing districts that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton5 things to watch in the Democratic debates Democrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt Mellman: Are primary debates different? MORE won in 2016.

Texas follows with six Democratic candidates outraising Republicans, including three running for seats in districts that Clinton won and three who are in more solidly GOP districts.

Among Texas Democrats outraising Republican rivals was Democrat MJ Hegar, who’s running against GOP Rep. John CarterJohn Rice CarterGOP frets about Trump's poll numbers The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? Current, former lawmakers celebrate release of new book on Jack Brooks, 'The Meanest Man in Congress' MORE and grabbed national headlines after her viral campaign ad in late June detailed her life as an Air Force pilot and working mother in Texas.

She raised $1.1 million in the second fundraising quarter and has $300,000 more cash on hand than Carter, who’s been in office since 2003. But she faces an uphill battle in unseating Carter, who represents a district President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama MORE won by nearly 13 points in 2016.

By comparison, just one Republican challenger outraised a Democratic incumbent, with John Chrin raising $50,000 more than Rep. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightHouse Dems up funding for science agencies, ignoring proposed Trump cuts Overnight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Interior chief dismisses climate concerns in first Natural Resources hearing: 'I haven't lost any sleep over it' MORE (D-Pa.), though Cartwright still has a cash-on-hand advantage.

Cartwright’s district became more favorable for Republicans after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew the state’s congressional map in its gerrymandering case, but Cook Political Report still rates his seat as likely Democratic.

Still, most GOP incumbents continue to hold cash advantages over their Democratic challengers, with 14 Democratic candidates having more in the bank than Republican incumbents.

In open-seat races, Democratic challengers outraised their Republican opponents in 25 races.

In Ohio’s special election for ex-Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiOhio New Members 2019 Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress GOP Rep. Balderson holds onto seat in Ohio MORE’s (R-Ohio) seat, Democrat Danny O'Connor narrowly outraised Republican Troy Balderson, though he has the edge in cash on hand.

Democrats are hoping that O’Connor can mobilize moderate voters — and supporters of Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — to help them in the reliably red district. Cook Political Report rates the special election as a toss-up.

In two other top California races, Democrats Gil Cisneros and Mike Levin outpaced their GOP rivals in the seats being vacated by retiring GOP Reps. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lawmakers propose banning shark fin trade MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back Darrell Issa eyes return to Congress Trump's 2020 campaign strategy is to be above the law MORE, respectively.

And in West Virginia, Richard Ojeda, the Democrat who voted for Trump in 2016 and has the backing of national Democrats, outpaced Republican Carol Miller in the race to replace Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsWest Virginia New Members 2019 Republican Carol Miller holds off Democrat in West Virginia House race Trump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report MORE (R-W.Va.). Still, that’ll be a steep climb for Democrats since Trump carried the district by a whopping 50 points.

Meanwhile, Republicans outraised Democratic challengers in five open seats, including in the race to replace Rep. Rick NolanRichard (Rick) Michael NolanMinnesota New Members 2019 Republicans pick up seat in Minnesota’s ‘Iron range’ How America’s urban-rural divide is changing the Democratic Party MORE (D-Minn.), which remains one of Republicans’ best pick-up opportunities this cycle.

In that race, Republican Pete Stauber outraised Democrats Joe Radinovich and Jason Metsa — the two top Democratic fundraisers. Stauber also has more cash on hand. Minnesota has a huge House battlefield this cycle, with a handful of top races.

And in the key open-seat race to succeed retiring Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertLymphedema Treatment Act would provide a commonsense solution to a fixable problem Yoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm MORE (R-Wash.), Republican Dino Rossi raised more than his three top Democratic fundraisers. Both parties have their eyes on this seat, which is rated by Cook as a toss-up and was carried by Clinton by 3 points.

Ben Kamisar contributed.