Campaign

Dems announce third-quarter fundraising bonanza

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House Democrats are on a fundraising tear in the final stretch of the midterm cycle, lending a big last-minute boost to their chances of flipping the chamber in November’s elections. 
 
More than 80 Democratic candidates have each raised more than $500,000 dollars in the third quarter of the year, which ended on Sept. 30, and eight of those have raised more than $3 million, the head of the Democrats’ campaign arm announced on Thursday.
 
{mosads} The numbers, which in some races rival the fundraising hauls of much more prominent Senate candidates, are raising eyebrows even among Democratic operatives, who attribute the 11th-hour financial bonanza to the grassroots enthusiasm of the Democratic base in the age of President Trump. 
 
“Those numbers are incredible,” Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) told a small gathering of reporters at a Bloomberg editorial roundtable in Washington. 
 
“It shows you where there’s a lot of energy and momentum, and that’s predominately grassroots fed and fueled.”
 
Lujan declined to name the individual candidates pulling in the big figures, but some campaigns have already released their numbers
 
Amy McGrath, who’s challenging GOP Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky, and Josh Harder, who’s pitted against Rep. Jeff Denham (R) in California, have both brought in more than $3 million for the quarter — mammoth figures for House races where seven-figure hauls are highly unusual.
 
In Illinois, GOP Rep. Peter Roskam is facing a tough race against Democrat Sean Casten, who raised $2.6 million in the third quarter. And in Kansas, Democrat Sharice Davids pulled in $2.7 million in her challenge to four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R). 
 
Election handicappers Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Cook Political Report shifted the Yoder race to “leans Democratic” this week.
 
All told, according to Lujan, 82 Democratic candidates have raised more than $500,000 for the quarter. Of those, 74 have pulled in more than $750,000; 60 have topped $1 million; 30 have surpassed $2 million; and eight have exceeded $3 million.
 
“Past cycles you would consider a $400,000 quarter for a House candidate to be very strong,” said Meredith Kelly, a DCCC spokeswoman.
 
Optimism from party leaders is hardly unusual heading into elections — indeed, it’s virtually a part of the job description to demonstrate confidence and boost morale among the party base, even in the toughest cycles.
 
But this year, Democrats have the wind at the backs for a host of reasons.
 
Trump’s approval rating, for one, is hovering in the low 40s. The DCCC is outpacing its Republican counterpart by millions of dollars in the fundraising race.
 
And historically, the party in power has been clobbered in midterm cycles, losing seats in 36 of the 39 midterm cycles stretching back more than 150 years. The average loss, according to the Sabato analysts, is an enormous 33 seats. 
 
The Democrats, who lost the House in a 2010 election wave, need to flip a net 23 seats to recapture the Speaker’s gavel. 
 
The DCCC, Lujan said, is currently spending money in 77 districts. And the group is closely monitoring the spending of its campaign allies, like the House Majority PAC, in order to “stretch our dollars as far as we can.”   
 
“We have to be smart about our investments,” Lujan said. “We have to maximize every dollar.” 
 
Lujan ticked off a number of tight races he’ll being eying closely on election night as a gauge for how well the party will fare across the country.
 
Among those contests are districts held by GOP Reps. Bruce Poliquin (Maine), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.), John Faso (N.Y.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Tom MacArthur (N.J.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.).
 
“I don’t know that I have a bellwether district, but would I would say is picking up two seats out of New Jersey, and four seats out of Pennsylvania at the beginning of the night [would] show it’s going to be a good night for Democrats,” he said.
 
Lujan is predicting the Democrats will win back the chamber, but declined to put a number on the seats he’s expecting to flip.
 
“I’m not operating under any wave assumptions. All that I’m concentrating on is winning back the majority, he said. 
 
He emphasized that Democrats are taking nothing for granted. 
 
“We need to finish this, and we need to run through the tape,” he said. “I’m confident we’re in a position to do it. I’m confident we’ll win the majority. 
 
“I just know it’s going to be a fight every day between now and elections.” 
Tags Andy Barr Brian Fitzpatrick Bruce Poliquin Donald Trump Jeff Denham John Faso Kevin Yoder Leonard Lance Peter Roskam Tom MacArthur

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