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 TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally 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 WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Trump's 2020 campaign strategy is to be above the law 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 SandersFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally 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 BookerWarren introduces universal child care legislation Warren introduces universal child care legislation Booker responds to Trump's mass deportation threat: 'This is not who we are' MORE (D-N.J.), who’s the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, has $4.1 million.

And Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Poll: Six Dems lead Trump in Florida match-ups 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 GabbardJuan Williams: Trump's incredible shrinking GOP Juan Williams: Trump's incredible shrinking GOP Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale 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 SwalwellCracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment 2020 Democrat: Trump is a national security risk 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 HarrisSacramento police reviewing 12-year-old's arrest after video goes viral Trump tweets 'Total Endorsement' of NC GOP House candidate North Carolina state senator wins GOP primary in 9th District 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 GardnerKoch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (R-Maine), the only two GOP senators up for reelection in states Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Trump jokes he'd get 'electric chair' if he deleted even one 'love note' email to Melania 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 ErnstGOP senators caught off guard by Shanahan withdrawal GOP senators caught off guard by Shanahan withdrawal Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate MORE (Iowa) has $1.3 million, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisKoch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments MORE (N.C.) has $2 million and Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) has $1.7 million.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynWillie Nelson on supporting O'Rourke: 'Anything he wants to do, I'm with Beto' Willie Nelson on supporting O'Rourke: 'Anything he wants to do, I'm with Beto' Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request 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' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid MORE (R-Ariz.), who was recently appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe DNC's climate problems run deep Trump's health care focus puts GOP on edge Trump's health care focus puts GOP on edge 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 ByrneRoy Moore to announce Thursday if he will run for Senate again Roy Moore to announce Thursday if he will run for Senate again Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland 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 PompeoOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting 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 RobertsEPA exempts farms from reporting pollution tied to animal waste EPA exempts farms from reporting pollution tied to animal waste Conservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries 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 LynchAnticipation builds for final Supreme Court rulings Anticipation builds for final Supreme Court rulings House Oversight Committee requests information on reported Trump plan to send TSA employees to border 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-CortezDem senator: American Jews 'disgusted' by treatment of migrants at border Dem senator: American Jews 'disgusted' by treatment of migrants at border Auschwitz Memorial responds to MSNBC host Chris Hayes over comments on concentration camps 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) CrowleyK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Pelosi, Clinton among attendees at memorial reception for Ellen Tauscher Dems walk Trump trade tightrope 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.