Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms

Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms
© iStock

More than 70 Democratic House hopefuls outraised Republican incumbents in the third quarter of 2018, according to an analysis by The Hill of newly filed fundraising reports, giving them a sharp financial edge in the final stretch of the midterms.

The filings for the July to September quarter showed Democrats continued their aggressive fundraising in some of the most competitive House and Senate races.

Eight Democrats running for House seats each raised more than $3 million in the same period, while 30 raised more than $2 million and 60 raked in more than $1 million.

Three Democratic candidates brought in upward of $4 million in the third quarter — Gil Cisneros and Andrew Janz in California and Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania. Not all that money came from donors, however, given that Cisneros loaned his campaign $3.5 million, while Wallace loaned $4 million to his.

ADVERTISEMENT

The fundraising numbers are the latest boon to Democratic hopes to recapture the House majority in November. The party needs to pick up at least 23 seats to win back control of the chamber from the GOP.

“It’s another reminder of how energized and motivated the Democratic base is,” said Navin Nayak, the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, adding that the wealth of small-dollar donations to Democratic candidates “reinforces that there’s a ton of enthusiasm for candidates who are going to reject corporate PAC money.”

In the previous quarter, just over 50 Democratic House hopefuls raised more than Republican incumbents.

The number of Democrats who outraised GOP incumbents in this quarter continued a trend of record-setting fundraising that has helped empower Democrats in 2018.

The strong numbers are part of a larger trend of heightened enthusiasm among Democratic voters and donors driven by deep dissatisfaction with Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The Democratic fundraising hauls were also in no small part fueled by low-dollar donations.

For example, Jennifer Wexton, who is challenging Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (R-Va.), reported an average individual contribution of $54. She outraised Comstock in the third quarter by $1.3 million, according to federal filings.

In Kansas’s 3rd District, Democrat Sharice Davids outraised incumbent Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderBottom line Amanda Adkins wins GOP primary to challenge Rep. Sharice Davids Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' MORE (R) by roughly $1.6 million, according to The Hill’s analysis. She brought in $2.8 million, while Yoder trailed at $1.1 million in the third fundraising quarter.

Likewise, Democrat Lauren Baer, who is challenging Rep. Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastSen. Rand Paul says he and his wife were 'attacked by an angry mob' after Trump speech Florida Republican apologizes after Facebook posts about sex, rape uncovered Most Black women since 2004 running for office this year MORE (R) in Florida’s 18th District, raised $1.6 million between July and September. Mast raked in about $983,500, though he holds the advantage in cash on hand, with $1.4 million to Baer’s $774,000.

Only two Republican candidates in the most competitive House races raised more than Democratic incumbents, federal filings show. Wendy Rogers outraised Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) $556,500 to $511,600, while Justin Fareed brought in about $130,000 more than Rep. Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalNunes opponent pins hopes on shifting demographics in uphill battle Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks Federal employees push for COVID-19 protections in 'dangerous' workplaces MORE (D-Calif.).

In 25 of the most competitive House races in which incumbents are not seeking reelection, Democrats outraised their Republican opponents.

In the Arizona seat being vacated by Senate hopeful Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTumultuous court battle upends fight for Senate Grassley, Ernst pledge to 'evaluate' Trump's Supreme Court nominee The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden goes on offense MORE (R), for example, Democrat Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickArizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran wins Democratic primary Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick wins Democratic primary Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats MORE brought in over $1.4 million more than her GOP challenger, Lea Marquez Petersen.

And in Florida’s 27th District, the home of retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-Lehtinen'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Shalala to face Salazar in Florida rematch TechNet hires Hispanic communications director MORE (R), Democrat Donna Shalala raked in more than $1 million compared to the roughly $563,500 raised by her opponent, Republican Maria Elvira Salazar.

In 14 of the most competitive Senate races, Democrats also largely outraised Republican opponents.

Incumbent Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampCentrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama MORE (D-N.D.), who is widely considered among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats seeking reelection this year, raised $3.8 million between July and September, her federal filings show.

Her GOP opponent, Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day On Paycheck Protection Program, streamlined forgiveness is key McConnell shores up GOP support for coronavirus package MORE (R-N.D.), scored a bit short of $1.7 million in the same period.

Meanwhile, in the Nevada Senate race, Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections Google, Apple, eBay to meet virtually with lawmakers for tech group's annual fly-in Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D) brought in $7 million in the third fundraising quarter, while incumbent Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R) raised about $2.2 million.

Heller is seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans this year. He’s seeking reelection in a state won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonButtigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot Poll: 51 percent of voters want to abolish the electoral college MORE in 2016.

In Texas, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) turned heads last week when he announced that he had raised more than $38 million between July and September — a record haul for a Senate campaign. His opponent, incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes Press: Notorious RBG vs Notorious GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy MORE (R), brought in about $12 million.

Despite O’Rourke’s massive fundraising advantage, he has never led in a public poll against Cruz and the prospect of winning a Senate seat in Texas remains a long shot for Democrats.

In another hard-fought Senate race, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Democratic-linked group runs ads in Kansas GOP Senate primary Trump mocked for low attendance at rally MORE (D-Mo.) raked in more than twice the amount of her GOP opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

The incumbent Democrat raised about $8.5 million between July and September, while Hawley pulled in $3.2 million. But Hawley ended the quarter with more cash on hand than McCaskill – $3.5 million to her roughly $3.2 million.

Recent polls show McCaskill and Hawley in a virtual dead heat. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently puts the race in the “toss-up” column.

In Indiana, Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump meets with potential Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett at White House Names to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day MORE (D) fell short of his Republican challenger Mike Braun, who raised $5.6 million between July and September.

Donnelly, another vulnerable Democrat, brought in a little less than $3.1 million in the same timeframe. He still leads Braun in cash on hand, with $4.5 million compared with his opponent’s roughly $1.9 million.

Despite the outsize fundraising hauls for Democrats, the party’s chances of retaking control of the Senate remain a long shot.

The Senate map poses a tougher challenge for Democrats than in the race for the House. More than two dozen Democratic incumbents are defending their Senate seats this year, including 10 in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE won two years ago.

In order to gain control of the chamber, Democrats would have to hold down 26 of their own seats and flip at least two Republican-held seats in November.

And Republicans are hoping to close the enthusiasm gap with Democrats ahead of Election Day.

In recent weeks, they have sought to seize on the bitter partisan fight surrounding sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughOvernight Health Care: US coronavirus deaths hit 200,000 | Ginsburg's death puts future of ObamaCare at risk | Federal panel delays vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot Trump says he'll make Supreme Court pick on Saturday MORE and his subsequent confirmation to the high court to rally conservative voters.

The brawl over Kavanaugh’s confirmation only began unfolding as campaigns were closing out their books for the third fundraising quarter.

It remains unclear whether that fight will prompt the kind of cash infusion for Republican candidates that they need to close the gap with their Democratic opponents.

While all eyes are on the midterm elections, Trump’s campaign still has its sights set on 2020.

Between July and the end of September, the president’s campaign committees brought in more than $18 million, bringing its total raised this year to more than $100 million, according to a filing submitted Monday.

-- Updated at 5:30 p.m.