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 TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview 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 WarrenSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 BookerKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors MORE (D-N.J.), who’s the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, has $4.1 million.

And Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 GabbardDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 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 SwalwellDemocratic donors stuck in shopping phase of primary Five takeaways from acting AG's fiery House hearing Top Judiciary Republican to Swalwell: 'Stop running for president' 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 HarrisNC elections board to hold hearing on disputed House race on Feb. 18 Five takeaways from the latest fundraising reports in the lead-up to 2020 NC gov appoints new elections board amid probe of disputed House race 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 GardnerBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt Lawmakers eager for 5G breakthrough MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care MORE (R-Maine), the only two GOP senators up for reelection in states Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on 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 ErnstPush for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 Ivanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation On The Money: Negotiators aiming to reach deal Monday night | Why border talks stalled | Treasury calls reports on dip in tax refunds 'misleading' | Cuomo, Trump to discuss SALT deduction cap MORE (Iowa) has $1.3 million, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration GOP senator dedicates heart photo to wife from Senate floor for Valentine's Day MORE (N.C.) has $2 million and Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) has $1.7 million.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season Trump: McConnell should keep Senate in session until nominees are approved 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 McSallyArmy calls base housing hazards 'unconscionable,' details steps to protect families Poll shows McSally, Kelly tied in Arizona Senate race Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE (R-Ariz.), who was recently appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid 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 ByrneFive takeaways from the latest fundraising reports in the lead-up to 2020 House lawmakers look to reassure Australia after Mattis resignation GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules 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 PompeoHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents 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 RobertsGOP senators offer praise for Klobuchar: 'She’s the whole package' The Hill's Morning Report - House Dems prepare to swamp Trump with investigations The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? 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 LynchFive takeaways from the latest fundraising reports in the lead-up to 2020 5 House Dems likely to attract primary challengers Insurgent Dems amplify push for term limits on party leaders 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-CortezNew York hates Amazon Tech looks for lessons from Amazon HQ2 fight 'Tax-the-rich' policies are all the rage in the US 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) CrowleyGOP lawmaker: Amazon would be moving into NY if Ocasio-Cortez wasn't elected Crowley says he 'didn’t underestimate' Ocasio-Cortez in primary challenge Ocasio-Cortez on 2020: ‘I don’t want to be placated as a progressive’ 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.