Vulnerable House Democrats benefit from fundraising surge amid impeachment

Vulnerable House Democrats benefit from fundraising surge amid impeachment
© Aaron Schwartz

House Democrats running in some of the most competitive races saw their best fundraising stretch of the year in the final three months of 2019, raking in a combined $28.5 million even as they moved to impeach a president many of their constituents had voted for three years earlier.

In total, the 42 members in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) “Frontline” program — an effort to bolster Democratic incumbents in tough reelection bids — saw a roughly 27 percent surge in fundraising between the third and fourth quarters of the year.

The fundraising boost came as the House undertook an impeachment investigation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE focusing on allegations that he sought to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage The Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE and his son Hunter Biden to benefit himself politically, which Trump has strongly denied.

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The House voted largely along party lines in December to impeach Trump. 

The fundraising surge flies in the face of concerns among some Democrats that the impeachment efforts would weaken the party’s vulnerable House members, including many of the freshman lawmakers who helped Democrats recapture the majority in the 2018 midterm elections.

In fact, 31 of the 42 Frontline members saw their best fundraising quarter of the year amid the impeachment proceedings. Twenty-three of those members represent districts that Trump carried in the 2016 election.

No candidate on the DCCC’s Frontline list raised more than Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinWill Congress finally address toxic 'forever chemicals?' Overnight Defense: Trump's move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd's death 'a national tragedy' Democrats blast Trump's use of military against protests MORE (D-Mich.) in the fourth quarter of 2019. Slotkin, a freshman member who represents a district Trump won by roughly 7 points in 2016, brought in just shy of $1.3 million in the last three months of the year, a 57 percent increase from her third-quarter fundraising haul. She ended the year with more than $2.8 million in the bank.

Not far behind her was Rep. Max RoseMax RoseModerate House Democrats introduce bill aimed at stopping China from exploiting coronavirus pandemic Republican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose Fauci hints at new approach to COVID-19 testing MORE (D-N.Y.), another first-term legislator from a Trump-won district, who raised more than $1.2 million in the third quarter, a sum that marks a nearly 67 percent increase over his third-quarter total.

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One other candidate, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), raised more than $1 million in the fourth quarter of the year.

Another Frontline member, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), saw the largest quarter-over-quarter increase of any candidate on the list, with a nearly 125 percent fundraising surge in the last three months of the year. He brought in just under $587,000 in the fourth quarter, federal filings show.

In all, the Frontline members entered 2020 with a combined $77.2 million on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

After picking up 43 House seats in 2018, Democrats are largely playing defense this year. But House Republicans have so far lagged behind their rivals in the money race, prompting GOP officials to sound the alarm in recent weeks over their candidates’ fundraising.

The DCCC raised nearly $125 million over the course of 2019, eclipsing the roughly $85 million brought in by its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, in the same time frame, federal filings show.