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 TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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 WarrenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial 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 SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters 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 BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE (D-N.J.), who’s the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, has $4.1 million.

And Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power 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 GabbardJoe Rogan says he's probably voting for Bernie Sanders Gabbard tells Fox that Clinton's 'Russian asset' remark is 'taking my life away' Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill 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 SwalwellMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair 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 HarrisBevin says he lost because liberals are 'good at harvesting votes' in urban areas The 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 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 GardnerDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Romney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' MORE (R-Maine), the only two GOP senators up for reelection in states Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee 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 ErnstSchiff pushes back: Defense team knows Trump is guilty Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk MORE (Iowa) has $1.3 million, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (N.C.) has $2 million and Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) has $1.7 million.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Nadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' Trump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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 McSallyDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses How Citizens United altered America's political landscape MORE (R-Ariz.), who was recently appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainConservative activist wins contest to represent New Hampshire at Republican National Convention Schiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter 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 ByrneGOP lawmaker offers resolution to censure Pelosi for holding articles of impeachment GOP rep releases campaign ad ripping Kaepernick, 'The Squad' GOP rep rails against Democrats for rejecting Republican impeachment amendment 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 PompeoSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Washington Post: Pompeo 'gaslighting' NPR reporter Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter 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 RobertsSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Senate GOP hopes to move new NAFTA deal before impeachment trial 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 LynchElection security, ransomware dominate cyber concerns for 2020 Hillicon Valley: Groups file appeal over net neutrality ruling | Lawmakers raise concerns over foreign apps | Payroll data stolen from Facebook House Democrat questions Google, Apple over handling of foreign-linked apps 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-CortezDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Moore defends Sanders's reputation: 'We don't want the fake, and the phony and the fraudulent' 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) CrowleyOcasio-Cortez defends decision not to pay dues to House Democratic campaign arm Hill.TV's Krystal Ball says Ocasio-Cortez has become a force in Democratic Party Ocasio-Cortez: 'In any other country Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party' 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.