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 TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report 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 WarrenBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDefense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR 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 SandersBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul 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 BookerBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity CNN announces details for LGBTQ town hall MORE (D-N.J.), who’s the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, has $4.1 million.

And Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity 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 GabbardTrump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Beto needs to revive talk about his 'war tax' proposal Gabbard: 'Debate or no debate we are driving forward' 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 SwalwellYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate 5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate 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 Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (R-Maine), the only two GOP senators up for reelection in states Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonQueer Marine veteran launches House bid after incumbent California Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement Poll: Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Florida Former immigration judge fined, temporarily banned from federal service for promoting Clinton policies 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 Ernst'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections MORE (Iowa) has $1.3 million, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTillis trails Democratic Senate challenger by 2 points: poll Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (N.C.) has $2 million and Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) has $1.7 million.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet 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 McSallyArizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ariz.), who was recently appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCan the presidential candidates please talk about our debt crisis? Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema 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 ByrneHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped GOP Senate candidate 'pissed off' at Trump over health care for veterans 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: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran Trump doubles down on Graham: 'How did going into Iraq work out?' 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 RobertsInternal poll shows Kobach trailing Democrat in Kansas Senate race Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser 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 LynchHillicon Valley: Appeals court rules Trump can't block people on Twitter | Tech giants to testify in House antitrust investigation | DHS set for grilling over facial recognition tech | Commerce to allow sales to Huawei Facebook official responds to Maxine Waters on cryptocurrency project House Democrats call for Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez mocks 'White House ethics' in Instagram post Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul Kennedy to challenge Markey in Senate primary 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 endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office 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.