Democrats blow past GOP incumbents in Q2 fundraising

Democrats running in the most competitive Senate races blew past their Republican opponents in fundraising in the second quarter as a series of national crises dragged down President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE’s polling numbers.

Second-quarter campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission showed Democrats outraising Republicans in all but two of the 15 most competitive Senate races.

Together, Democrats pulled in a combined $102 million in the three-month period spanning April 1 through June 30, while Republicans raked in about $70 million.


Democrats are outraising Republicans at a time when Trump's poll numbers have taken a hit over his responses to the coronavirus and the protests on racial justice roiling the country.

The Republicans trailing their Democratic opponents in second-quarter fundraising include some of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2020 election cycle. In a dozen Republican-held seats that Democrats are hoping to seriously contest this year, the challenger raised more than the incumbent in all but one.

In Arizona, for instance, former astronaut Mark Kelly took in nearly $12.8 million to Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock McConnell tees up showdown on unemployment benefits MORE’s (R) $9.3 million. McSally is among Democrats’ top targets this year, and polls show her trailing Kelly by considerable margins.

In Maine, state House Speaker Sara Gideon pulled in nearly $9.4 million over the quarter, more than twice as much as the $3.6 million raised by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans MORE (R), another one of Democrats’ top targets in their bid for a Senate majority.

And even in GOP strongholds like South Carolina and Kentucky, Democratic candidates outraised some of the most best-funded Republicans in the country.


Jaime Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chair, raised more than $14 million in the second quarter, outperforming Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamNavarro: 'Don't fall for' message from TikTok lobbyists, 'puppet CEO' Graham defends Trump on TikTok, backs Microsoft purchase The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse MORE (R-S.C.) by nearly $6 million. In Kentucky, former Marine combat pilot Amy McGrath raked in a staggering $17.4 million to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency MORE’s (R) $12.2 million.

Republicans’ electoral outlook in 2020 has darkened in recent months as Trump’s turbulent handling of the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice have caused his polling numbers to sag, both nationally and in critical battleground states.

In most cases, those GOP incumbents still have larger cash reserves, though that’s due in no small part to the fact that incumbents often have had more time to campaign and fundraise over the years.

In Colorado, for example, former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGardner says GOP committee should stop airing attack ad on opponent Hickenlooper Democrats' lurch toward the radical left — and other useful myths David Sirota discusses Senate Majority PAC backing incumbents over progressives in primaries MORE raised $5.2 million the second quarter – about $1.6 million more than his opponent, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP GOP fears Trump attacks on mail-in vote will sabotage turnout Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-Colo.). But Gardner reported having about $10.7 million in cash on hand to Hickenlooper’s $4.6 million. 

McConnell ended the quarter with $16.6 million in the bank to McGrath’s $16.2 million, despite being outraised by more than $5 million. But McGrath also spent far more heavily than McConnell did in recent months, pumping millions of dollars into an unexpectedly competitive primary race against Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker and ultimately chipping away at her cash reserves heading into her general election campaign.


In addition to the Senate races in Arizona, Maine, South Carolina, Kentucky and Colorado, The Hill also examined fundraising disclosures from candidates in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Texas. In all but three of those states — Alabama, Michigan and Kansas — Republican incumbents are fending off challenges from Democrats.

Michigan and Texas were the only two states in which Republicans outraised Democrats. In Michigan, Republican John James brought in $6.4 million to Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersSenators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery Trump may have power, but he still has no plan to fight the pandemic 100 Days: Democrats see clear path to Senate majority MORE’s (D) $5.2 million. Meanwhile in Texas, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynFrustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection Mini-exodus of Trump officials from Commerce to lobby on semiconductors MORE (R) raised nearly $3.5 million, while his Democratic opponent M.J. Hegar pulled in about $1.8 million.

Hegar only clinched the nomination in Texas this week after a months-long runoff race against state Sen. Royce West. On the other hand, Cornyn faced only nominal primary opposition.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Democrats will have to flip three or four seats to take control, depending on which party wins the White House in November.

But Sen. Doug Jones (D) is facing a tough reelection bid in Alabama and is in serious danger of losing his seat, meaning that Democrats would need to pick up a minimum of four seats elsewhere to capture a Senate majority.

Still, Republicans are defending a handful of competitive seats in states like Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. In addition to those four, Democrats are also putting up serious challenges in states like Montana, Iowa and Texas. In every one of those states, with the exception of Texas, Democrats outraised the GOP incumbents.

Democrats have also become increasingly optimistic about their chances in Georgia, where a special election prompted by the retirement of former Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump and Biden tied in Georgia: poll Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia Doug Collins questions Loeffler's trustworthiness in first TV ad MORE (R) last year and a regularly scheduled Senate race have put both of the state’s seats into play.

Jon Ossoff, the Democrat challenging Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in the regular election, reported raising $3.9 million in the second quarter, outpacing the GOP incumbent by more than $1.7 million. Ossoff spent more than five times more than his opponent, however, largely due to the fact that he faced a June primary against several other Democrats, leaving Perdue with a massive $8 million cash on hand advantage.

In Georgia’s special election, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the top Democrat running for the seat, raised more from donations than any other candidate, reporting a second-quarter haul of about $2.9 million. But Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerTrump and Biden tied in Georgia: poll Exclusive: Poll shows pressure on vulnerable GOP senators to back state and local coronavirus aid Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia MORE (R-Ga.), who was appointed late last year to fill Isakson’s seat and is largely self-funding her Senate bid, reported taking in more money overall after loaning her campaign $5 million on June 25.

--Updated at 3:33 p.m.