Renzi, Hastert, Lewis see sharp drops in 2nd-quarter fundraising

Reps. Rick Renzi (Ariz.), Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Jerry Lewis (Calif.) severely curtailed their fundraising in the first half of 2007, as retirement rumors loomed for them and other members of the dethroned Republican Party.

The rumors have run rampant since the GOP was removed from power for the first time in 12 years. The numbers show many Republicans are, at the very least, having a harder time raising money and, in some cases, thus far haven’t focused on doing so.

The fundraising decline is across-the-board for potential retirees and others recently removed from powerful positions.

Also among those with sharp reductions in fundraising thus far are Reps. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHillicon Valley: Apple, Google launch virus tracing system | Republican says panel should no longer use Zoom | Lawmakers introduce bill to expand telehealth House lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to expand telehealth services Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis MORE (Alaska), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), David Dreier (Calif.) and Tom Tancredo (Colo.). The former three are expected to run again.

Fundraising reports for the second quarter of the year were due Sunday.

Renzi, who has been the subject of retirement rumors since his family’s business was raided by the FBI in April, raised only $40,000 in the second quarter, compared to more than $300,000 in the second quarter of 2005. He has been a top Democratic target in recent years.

Lewis also has been under duress during a federal investigation. The 15th-term former Appropriations Committee chairman raised $70,000 in the second quarter after having raised $300,000 in the same quarter two years ago.

Both Lewis and Renzi are spending money faster than they are bringing it in.

Hastert has been considered likely to retire since he lost the Speakership to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats in last year’s election. After raising $290,000 in the first quarter, Hastert pulled in $150,000 in the second quarter — far less than the half million dollars he raised in the second quarter of 2005.

Bartlett, who turned 81 in June, raised only $25,000 in the second quarter and has raised less than $40,000 for the cycle. By this point in 2005, he had raised more than $130,000.

Chief of staff Bud Otis said Bartlett has raised money for his political action committee. He has filed to run again.

Young, in his 18th term and a former Transportation Committee chairman, raised $110,000 in the second quarter after pulling in $210,000 in the first quarter and nearly $400,000 in the second quarter of 2005.

He recently has found himself under the microscope for an earmark that benefited a campaign contributor, and Democrats have shown a desire to challenge him in 2008.

“He’s not chairman anymore,” spokeswoman Meredith Kenny said to explain the drop in fundraising. “He’s not retiring; he’s definitely running next year.”

Republicans point out that members such as Young, Lewis and Hastert have lost influential positions in the new Congress and therefore aren’t able to raise as much money. Many of them also have large cash reserves — more than $1 million in the case of Young and Dreier — that will be sufficient for reelection.

“These members are hard-working members that have proven they have the ability to raise money,” a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Julie Shutley, said. “We are confident they will have every resource they need to be successful in 2008.”

Dreier, a former Rules Committee chairman now in his 14th term, raised $40,000 in the second quarter and $65,000 for the first half of 2007. In the second quarter of 2005, he raised $270,000.

But he has been focusing on raising money for the NRCC and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani (R), and is expected to run again.

Tancredo’s numbers are difficult to read because he is running a long-shot campaign for president and has focused his resources on that bid.

He raised just $2,000 for his House campaign in the second quarter and has acknowledged openly he might retire this cycle. But he raised $1.5 million for his presidential campaign and can transfer leftover money into his House account.

Tancredo also has broached the idea of a run against Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) in 2010. He is expected to announce his reelection plans without regard to his presidential fate.

While many Republicans’ numbers have dropped off sharply, a few have stepped up their fundraising.

Nineteen-term Rep. Bill Young (Fla.) has raised more money earlier than he ever has, pulling in $200,000 in the second quarter after Democrats said they would target his seat.

Rep. Henry Brown Jr. (S.C.), who is 71, raised $275,000 in the second quarter after raising just $2,000 in the first quarter.

Rep. James Walsh (N.Y.), who nearly lost his seat in 2006 and has been the subject of some retirement rumors, raised $300,000 in the second quarter, far outpacing his slow start in 2005.

While Walsh took a strong challenge to heart, Rep. Barbara Cubin (Wyo.) hasn’t upped her fundraising after a narrow victory over Democrat Gary Trauner in 2006. She raised just $25,000 in the second quarter.

Cubin also faces the prospect of a strong primary challenge from state Rep. Colin Simpson (R), the son of former Sen. Alan Simpson (R).

“Barbara continues to raise money and will publicly announce her plans for the 2008 campaign at a time she feels is appropriate,” Cubin spokeswoman Alison McGuire said.