Republicans have been talking an increasingly big game about 2010 over the last three months, and they have hyped candidates in many seats that weren’t previously targeted. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to insist they will have more than enough money to weather Republican attacks and pick their spots on offense.
Thursday’s third-quarter deadline of the off year is considered the first real chance for candidates to show they have the fundraising prowess to make it through the general election.
With most of the candidates in place, it was the first chance for both sides to lay it all on the table, and they did so — with mixed results.
The Hill reviews the highlights of the fundraising reports:
New candidates make a splash
Republicans have hyped challengers for everyone from Rep. Tim BishopTimothy (Tim) Howard BishopOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Dem candidate 'struck by the parallels' between Trump's rise and Hitler's Dems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary MORE (D-N.Y.) to Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr.Sanford Dixon BishopCBC dislikes Jarrett's message Administration courts CBC on Syria With eye on ending Hill gridlock, 81 lawmakers rally to back bipartisan bills MORE (D-Ga.) — both of whom didn’t seem likely targets at the beginning of the year.
Tim Bishop’s opponent, businessman Randy Altschuler (R), raised a strong $209,000 and self-funded $450,000. Sanford Bishop’s opponent, state Rep. Mike Keown (R), will take a bit longer to get there after raising $107,000 in two months.
Some pleasant surprises for the GOP included Rep. John Boccieri (D) challenger Jim Renacci raising more than $200,000, and new opponents for Reps. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and John Tanner (D-Tenn.) both outraising the incumbents.
Republicans Scott RigellScott RigellSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat GOP rushes to embrace Trump MORE and Ben Loyola both wound up putting together about a half-million dollars for their runs at freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.). Rigell raised $227,000 and self-funded $225,000, while Loyola raised $50,000 and self-funded $500,000. Interestingly, Loyola seems to be betting the farm on his candidacy. Consultant Aaron Gulbransen said Thursday that Loyola recently sold a division of his company, Loyola Enterprises, for a few million dollars.
Others weren’t so fortunate. Businessman Jon Barela (R), a highly touted recruit who is waging an uphill campaign in a Democratic-trending district held by freshman Rep. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Schneider Electric — Deadly Ida floodwaters grip southeast US David Sirota: Seven Democrats who voted against fracking ban trying to secure future elections Deadly extreme heat has arrived: here's how policymakers can save lives MORE (D-N.M.), raised a pedestrian $107,000 in his first full quarter, after raising $73,000 in just three weeks last quarter. And Springfield, Ore., Mayor Sid Leiken (R), who has fallen out of favor after several stumbles early on, raised an anemic $18,000 in the third quarter for his run at Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
Honest-to-God primaries in Kentucky
Trey Grayson (R), the Kentucky secretary of state who is the early favorite to replace Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), turned in one of the most disappointing performances of the quarter with just $640,000 raised. But the harm was mitigated a bit when state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) announced he had raised just slightly more — $673,000 — after raising $1.3 million last quarter.
The real winners in all this are their primary opponents. Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) son, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 White House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R), tapped many of his father’s donors to raise more than $1 million, and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) turned in an improved total of $514,000 for the quarter. Mongiardo will be happy to have the conversation be about someone else’s disappointing fundraising instead of his own this time.
Portman outraises Fisher two-to-one
Speaking of disappointing, Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) raised less than half as much as former Rep. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanRepublicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks Anti-Trump Republicans on the line in 2022 too Major US port target of attempted cyber attack MORE’s (R-Ohio) $1.3 million. But while his meager $620,000 might hurt his party in the general election, it could also serve to give his primary opponent some hope.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) has undergone her own fundraising troubles, raising less than half a million dollars through six months and reorganizing her finance team recently. While Fisher has already built a big lead over her, he probably could have put the nail in Brunner’s coffin with a strong quarter. Instead, Brunner reasserted her commitment to the race Thursday.
Portman now has $5.1 million cash on hand, which is three times more than Fisher’s $1.6 million.
GOP candidates take leads in key states
Ohio isn’t the only open-seat battleground where the GOP asserted itself this quarter. The party’s candidates also raised the most money in Florida (Gov. Charlie Crist’s $2.4 million), Illinois (Rep. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE’s $1.6 million), Missouri (Rep. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRoy Blunt has helped forge and fortify the shared bonds between Australia and America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE’s $1.3 million) and New Hampshire (Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyottePoll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate MORE’s $613,000).
Meanwhile, former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) and investment banker Peter Schiff (R) both outraised Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) $900,000, while another Republican, Linda McMahon, self-funded $2 million. Dodd’s staff notes he missed a good chunk of the quarter due to surgery for early-stage prostate cancer.
Other Democratic incumbents post strong numbers
Sens. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo Build Back Better, we need a tax system where everyone pays their fair share Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda MORE (D-Nev.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerFormer California senator prods Feinstein to consider retirement Trump decries 'defund the police' after Boxer attacked Former Sen. Barbara Boxer attacked in California MORE (D-Calif.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBuild Back Better Act must include funding to restore forests, make communities resilient and create jobs Interior reverses Trump, moves BLM headquarters back to DC Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE (D-Colo.) all turned in more than a million dollars, with the first three closer to $2 million for the quarter. Only Specter has an opponent who is coming close to matching him at this point, but he still outraised former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), $1.8 million to $1.5 million.
Specter and Bennet also far outraised their primary opponents, as Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) raised $758,000, and former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) raised more than $200,000.
The not-so-Young raising not-so-much
Reps. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill Republicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump | Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps MORE (R-Alaska), the two longest-serving Republicans in the House, continue to leave their reelections in doubt. The former is plagued by retirement rumors and raised less than $4,000, and the latter is doing almost nothing to rebuild his war chest, which stood at $1.5 million at this point last cycle. Young’s cash on hand actually decreased to $123,000 at the end of the third quarter.
Thankfully for them, their opponents aren’t taking advantage. Highly touted recruit and Florida state Sen. Charlie Justice (D) turned in a second-straight lackluster fundraising quarter ($77,000), and Alaska state Rep. Harry Crawford (D) reported raising only about $25,000 in his first month-plus.