Five takeaways from the latest fundraising reports in the lead-up to 2020

Five takeaways from the latest fundraising reports in the lead-up to 2020

Two years out from the 2020 presidential race, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE is raking in money from his small-dollar army as he gears up for a challenging reelection race.

Democratic presidential candidates are also hoping to harness that same small-dollar energy as they seek to stand out in a crowded field.

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More than half a dozen senators running or considering bids can also get an extra boost by transferring money from their Senate accounts.

Here are five takeaways from year-end fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by the Thursday deadline:

Trump benefits from small-dollar army

Trump’s campaign isn't slowing down two years out from his reelection race.

He entered the year with $19.2 million in the bank and most of his contributions are still coming from small-dollar donors who will prove critical in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump’s campaign and his joint fundraising committees raised more than $21 million during the last three months of 2018. His campaign said most of his contributions came from donors who gave less than $200.

The president’s campaign also spent heavily during the end of 2018, steering $23 million to campaign ads, direct contributions to GOP candidates and other expenses from dozens of campaign rallies.

According to the FEC filing, Trump owes the Treasury Department over $1 million for travel expenses related to campaign rallies.

And his campaign also spent $838,000 on legal fees, which included money given to firms who have represented the president and those close to him regarding Russia election interference investigations, according to The New York Times.

Warren, Gillibrand lead the pack in Senate cash

Not all Democratic presidential candidates will be starting from square one when it comes to fundraising.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.), who are both running for president in 2020, are the early leaders among the eight U.S. senators running or believed to be considering White House bids.

Warren leads the pack with $11 million cash on hand. Gillibrand is not far behind with $10.3 million in the bank.

Lawmakers with federal campaign accounts can transfer that money to use in a presidential campaign.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (I-Vt.), who’s reportedly gearing up to announce another White House bid, has $9 million in his Senate campaign account.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE (D-N.J.), who’s the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, has $4.1 million.

And Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Women who inspired 'Hidden Figures' film will be honored with congressional gold medals MORE (D-Calif.) ended 2018 with $1.3 million, though she announced raising $1.5 million in online donations within 24 hours of her 2020 announcement earlier this month.

In the House, Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardKrystal Ball praises former McConnell aide's historic win in Kentucky The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race The Hill's Morning Report — Bloomberg news shakes up 2020 race MORE (D-Hawaii) has $2 million stowed away for her long-shot presidential bid. She also faces a contested primary for her House seat, though she hasn’t confirmed if she will run for reelection.

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (D-Calif.), who plans to make a 2020 decision soon, has $1.6 million in his account for a presidential run.

Meanwhile, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who raised a record amount of money for his Senate bid in 2018, only has $286,000 in his account.

Republican Mark HarrisMark HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Why my American Indian tribe voted Republican in NC's special election North Carolina race raises 2020 red flags for Republicans, Democrats MORE owes money after disputed race

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina's disputed 9th District race, went into the new year with about $19,000 cash on hand, having raised less than $4,000 in the last five weeks of 2018.

But the North Carolina Republican owes about $86,000, and $53,000 of that debt is to Red Dome Group, the consulting firm that contracted the man at the center of allegations about the misuse of absentee ballots.

Harris's year-end filing says the campaign owes Red Dome "reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee, early voting poll workers, reimbursement door to door.”

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Bladen County is one of the counties at the heart of the fraud investigation.

Meanwhile, Harris's rival, Democrat Dan McCready, has continued fundraising in the event that a new election is called.

McCready raised $503,000 and ended 2018 with $337,000.

The North Carolina Democrat currently trails Republican Mark Harris by 905 votes, but the state elections board declined to certify the results amid the fraud allegations. The board will soon vote at a February hearing whether to certify the race or call for a new election.

 

Vulnerable senators stockpile money

Democrats are emboldened about their chances of taking back the Senate in 2020, as they are set to defend 12 seats while Republicans are protecting 22 seats.

But a number of vulnerable GOP senators are already in good financial shape ahead of their tough reelection races.

Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (R-Maine), the only two GOP senators up for reelection in states Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats MORE won in 2016, have $1.7 million and $2.6 million, respectively.

Other targeted GOP senators have at least $1 million when they started 2019: Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Senate talks on stalled Violence Against Women Act reauthorization unravel MORE (Iowa) has $1.3 million, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs MORE (N.C.) has $2 million and Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) has $1.7 million.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says Dems shouldn't hold public hearings MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Ky.), whose reelection races are expected to draw national attention, entered 2019 well-positioned with $5.7 million and $3.6 million, respectively.

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths MORE (R-Ariz.), who was recently appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says husband John McCain would be 'disgusted' by state of GOP Meghan McCain to Trump Jr. on 'The View': 'You and your family have hurt a lot of people' Trump Jr. defends father on 'The View': He's 'controversial,' but 'took on the establishment' MORE's (R) seat after losing her 2018 Senate race, ended 2018 with less than $1 million in the bank.

Meanwhile, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is seen as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat up for reelection, ended 2018 with $2.1 million in his account as he gears up for a challenging race in the deep-red state. 

Jones hasn’t gotten a formal Republican challenger, but Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneTrump attends football game with Jeff Sessions' Alabama Senate race opponent Bradley Byrne The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Trump: 'We'll have to see' on endorsing Sessions's Senate bid MORE (R-Ala.) is among several Republicans seriously considering running. Byrne has over $1 million in the bank.

And in Kansas’ open-seat, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran lays foundation for second nuclear plant: report Pompeo knocks Iran's treatment of UN nuclear inspector Reagan statue unveiled near site where he called for Gorbachev to 'tear down' Berlin Wall MORE has been heavily courted by Republicans to leave the Trump administration and run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight MORE (R-Kan.).

Before entering Trump’s Cabinet, Pompeo was a congressman for six years and still has $990,000 in his House account.

At the committee level, the National Republican Senatorial Committee began 2019 with $7.4 million in the bank, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had $6.1 million.

 

Dems facing likely primaries build defenses 

Some Democratic incumbents are already facing the threat of primary challenges in 2020. But they’ll have the advantage of incumbency and money.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who has become a frequent target of progressives, ended 2018 with $450,000 cash on hand.

While he doesn’t have a formal challenger, his 2018 primary challenger, Marie Newman, is considering another run after losing by 3 points.

If she decides to run, Newman would initially go into the race with a huge financial disadvantage. At the end of 2018, she had only $70 in the bank, though national groups could decide to again spend heavily on her behalf.

Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOvernight Defense: Dems release first impeachment probe transcripts | White House officials refuse to testify Monday | US, Iran mark 40th anniversary of hostage crisis White House officials refusing to testify Monday US diplomat William Taylor willing to testify publicly: report MORE (D-Mass.), who soundly defeated several Democratic challengers in 2018, has plenty of money ready for another primary, with $1.4 million in the bank.

One of his primary challengers, video game developer Brianna Wu, has just $65,000 on hand. Wu has already declared she’ll run against Lynch in 2020 and has hired more staff than last time.

No names have surfaced as primary challenges to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who’s facing a primary threat from progressive group Justice Democrats. But he has millions stockpiled, with $2.5 million in his account.

And freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires' Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez see 'class solidarity' in report Bezos asked Bloomberg to run MORE (D-N.Y.), who became a household name after defeating an entrenched incumbent last year, closed out 2018 with nearly $370,000 on hand.

Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political world by defeating Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyThe Democrats' generational battle Ocasio-Cortez apologizes for blocking ex-politician on Twitter, settles lawsuit Ocasio-Cortez on public life: 'Sometimes I just want to be a human being' MORE in her 2018 Democratic primary, but there are some rumblings about some Democrats potentially fielding a primary challenge

Nationally, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's House campaign arm, outraised its GOP counterpart by $2 million in the last five weeks of 2018.

But the National Republican Congressional Committee ended with $16.5 million on hand, while the DCCC had $5.6 million.