Senate Democrats outraise Republicans, but GOP has cash edge

Senate Democrats outraise Republicans, but GOP has cash edge
© istock
Democratic candidates running in the most competitive Senate contests around the country raised a combined $5 million more than their Republican counterparts, but the Republicans maintain a huge cash lead, thanks to several well-heeled incumbents who are sitting on massive war chests.
Across 12 states with 13 Senate seats up for election this year, 16 Democratic candidates raised a combined $32 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. Eighteen Republican candidates running in those same races pulled in $27 million — a figure which includes a $5 million check written by a wealthy new senator intent on saving her seat from a GOP challenger.
But the reports also show that the 18 Republicans have a combined $96 million in the bank, led by huge sums collected by the top two Senate Republican leaders, while the 16 Democrats have a combined $57 million on hand.
The reports show 20 candidates in those most competitive races raised more than $1 million in the final three months of the year.
No candidate raised more than Amy McGrath (D), a retired Marine challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCan Manchin answer his predecessor's call on voting rights? Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' Democrats' narrow chance to retain control after 2022 MORE (R) in Kentucky. McGrath pulled in $6 million in the quarter, while McConnell managed to raise $3.8 million. However, McConnell maintains a $2 million cash advantage over his Democratic challenger, with $11.5 million in the bank.
Meanwhile in Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly pulled in just shy of $6 million, marking another quarter in which he outraised Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal McGuire unveils Arizona Senate campaign MORE (R) by about $2 million. Kelly’s $13.6 million bank account leads McSally’s $7.7 million stockpile.
Three other challengers pulled in $1 million more than sitting senators: Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm 'Killibuster': Democratic angst grows as filibuster threatens agenda Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (D) raised $2.7 million for his campaign against Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms MORE (R), who pulled in $1.6 million; Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) raised $3.2 million compared to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure 'framework' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House digs in as infrastructure talks stall MORE’s (R) $2 million; and in Michigan, Republican John James raised $3.4 million, outpacing the $2.3 million Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley: Tech antitrust bills create strange bedfellows in House markup | Rick Scott blocks Senate vote on top cyber nominee until Harris visits border | John McAfee dies Rick Scott blocks Senate vote on top cyber nominee until Harris visits border Harris casts tiebreaking vote to confirm OPM nominee MORE (D) raised.
In all three cases, though, the incumbent held a substantial cash lead: Gardner’s $7.7 million cash on hand and Collins’s $7.1 million are both more than double the amount Hickenlooper and Gideon have left over, while Peters holds $2 million more than James.
The new glimpse at candidate fundraising suggests some contentious races ahead, several in states that were not always seen as competitive.
Graham’s likely opponent, former state Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, has built a $4.7 million bank account after raising $3.5 million over three months. Graham has more than twice as much on hand, and the advantage of a Republican state, but Harrison is proving an adept fundraiser.
Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE (R-Iowa) reported $4.8 million in the bank at the end of the year as her leading Democratic challenger, real estate executive Theresa Greenfield, pulled in $1.6 million and held $2.1 million in reserve. Greenfield must get by Eddie Mauro, a wealthy insurance broker who has loaned his own campaign $1.75 million of his own money, in the June 2 primary before she gets a clean run at Ernst.
In Kansas, state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D) has cleared the field of her Democratic rivals and pulled in $1.1 million in her bid to win a seat held by retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 MORE (R). 
Bollier raised more than twice as much as her three leading Republican opponents combined, and those three Republicans — former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallKansas' Democratic governor set for bruising reelection fight Republicans grill Biden public lands agency pick over finances, advocacy Senate passes resolution urging probe into COVID-19 origins MORE and state Senate President Susan Wagle — must face off in an August primary. But Bollier faces historical currents: Kansas hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) is perhaps the most vulnerable senator up for reelection this year, running in a state President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE carried easily in 2016. But Jones hauled in $1.9 million, more than the three top Republicans who will fight it out for the right to face him in November. Jones has stockpiled a nearly $5.5 million war chest. 
Former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE (R) reported $2.5 million on hand in his campaign account just weeks after jumping back into the race for his old seat. Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneTrump's Slovenia Ambassador Lynda Blanchard jumps into Alabama Senate race Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Ex-Rep. Mike Conaway, former aide launch lobbying firm MORE (R) has $2.2 million in the bank, and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville (R) has $1.5 million on hand after loaning himself $1 million. Those Republicans will clash in a March 3 primary ahead of a likely runoff to be held April 14.
Another Republican primary collision is coming in Georgia, where appointed Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (R) will face off with Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R), a member of Trump’s legal team in the impeachment trial. Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman, has already lent her campaign $5 million, and she is also on air with television spots introducing herself to Georgia voters. Collins, who only joined the race last week, brings $1.7 million from his House campaign account.
Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisBill ending federal unemployment supplement passes North Carolina legislature Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (R-N.C.) outraised former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) and has built a $5 million bank account, the reports show. Cunningham, once the subject of quiet Democratic complaints about his slow fundraising, picked up the pace in the final quarter of the year to raise $1.6 million.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported Friday it held $20 million in cash reserves, just over $1 million more than the $18.7 million that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) had on hand. But the advantage is larger than it appears; the DSCC is still carrying $6.8 million in debt from the 2018 midterm elections.
Among the top outside groups that back Senate Democrats and Republicans, the Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC pulled in $61 million in 2019. Its top rival, the Senate Leadership Fund, reported raising $30.8 million over the same period. An affiliated nonprofit, One Nation, raised $35.5 million, though slightly different rules govern how that money must be spent.
Updated: Feb. 2 at 10:13 a.m.