Third quarter House recap: Big funding surprises from little-known challengers

Nearly 20 vulnerable or potentially vulnerable incumbents were outraised in the third quarter, according to financial reports filed this week.

The number of members who were outraised highlights a quarter full of big money and surprises from heretofore little-known challengers.

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Incumbents fall behind

A dozen previously targeted incumbents saw their challengers raise more between July and September, but others not previously thought to be in much trouble endured monetary setbacks, too.

Republicans have targeted Tennessee in recent months, and GOPer Steve Fincher’s huge advantage over Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) in the third quarter was the most lopsided of all incumbent deficits, at $308,000 to $56,000. But another Tennessee Democrat, Rep. Lincoln Davis, also saw his opponent outraise him, as unheralded physician Scott DesJarlais raised $97,000 to the incumbent’s $68,000. Little is known about DesJarlais at this time.

A pair of previously untargeted Missouri incumbents also fell behind their opponents for the quarter, as Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) was outdone by Democrat Tommy Sowers $205,000 to $120,000, and Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) was outraised by Republican Ed Martin $202,000 to $164,000.

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) was also an unwitting victim of a challenger surge, with Republican Andy BarrAndy BarrMcConnell holds 12-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Democrats fear 2016 repeat despite Biden's lead in polls Protecting COVID research at American universities from foreign hackers MORE outraising him in just two and a half weeks of fundraising, $186,000 to $160,000.

Chandler and the others will remain strong favorites, but they have tougher reelections on their hands than previously thought.

The other incumbents outraised included Reps. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), Bill Young (R-Fla.), John Hall (D-N.Y.), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), John Boccieri (D-Ohio), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), Mike McCaul (R-Texas), Glenn Nye (D-Va.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyJudge issues nationwide injunction against Postal Service changes House panel advances bill to ban Postal Service leaders from holding political positions Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (D-Va.) and Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertWashington Rep. Kim Schrier wins primary Mail ballot surge places Postal Service under spotlight Bottom Line MORE (R-Wash.).

Young will continue to be plagued by retirement rumors after raising just $3,000, but state Sen. Charlie Justice (D) isn’t building himself much of an advantage either way, raising a disappointing $77,000.

Hall was outraised by two Republican opponents, state Assemblyman Greg Ball and newcomer physician Nan Hayworth. He and Reichert have both been outraised in multiple quarters this cycle.

McCaul gave his campaign $500,000 in the face of one of the top fundraisers in the country, Democrat Jack McDonald, who has already raised more than $900,000 this cycle. McCaul gave himself $250,000 to fend off a challenge last cycle, too.

Inglis was the only one outraised by a primary opponent, as prosecutor Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE bested him $125,000 to $102,000.

Open seat update

Many seats left by candidates for other offices will be at the top of the competitive race charts next year, but some might surprise you.

Democratic Kansas state Rep. Raj Goyle is making a big play for Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s (R-Kan.) conservative Wichita district, raising four times more than any Republican vying for the seat with $404,000.

And Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) continues to build himself into a contender for Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) seat, outraising former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) $61,000 to $41,000. Case also has a new primary headache on his hands, after state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D) recently entered the race.

Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan (R) and state Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) both put together more than $210,000 for Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) battleground seat, and a former candidate for that seat, Steven Welch (R), self-funded $500,000 in his new campaign for Rep. Jim GerlachJames (Jim) GerlachThe business case for employer to employee engagement 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? Pa. GOP 'disappointed' by rep retiring after filing deadline MORE’s (R-Pa.) seat. Should he win the primary, Welch appears likely to face Democrat Doug Pike, another big-time self-funder who raised $126,000 for the quarter and has $746,000 on hand.

Eight months after Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) decided to run for Senate, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster is still the only candidate raising real money for his seat, and she raised a solid $180,000 for the quarter. She should soon be joined by former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) in the quest for funds.

The newest open-seat battleground district, in Louisiana, also has yet to take shape, as attorney Ravi Sangisetty’s (D) $86,000 raised and $50,000 self-contribution was the only money registered for Rep. Charlie Melancon’s (D-La.) seat.

The big money open seat is, unsurprisingly, in Rep. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' MORE’s (R-Ill.) suburban Chicago district, where four candidates put together more than $250,000 for the quarter. State Rep. Julie Hamos (D) led the way with $547,000 raised, while 2008 Democratic nominee Dan Seals raised $303,000 and GOPer Dick Green largely self-funded his $304,000. Among other Republicans, businessman Bob Dold had receipts of $258,000, and state Rep. Beth Coulson raised $128,000.

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The good

Hamos’s take was one of the biggest in the country, but it didn’t even come close to Rep. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonDemocrats raise alarm about new US human rights priorities Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez defeats Valerie Plame in New Mexico primary Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans MORE (R-S.C.), who raised $2.7 million off his “you lie” outburst during President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon Trump appointees stymie recommendations to boost minority voting: report Obama's first presidential memoir, 'A Promised Land,' set for November release MORE’s nationally televised healthcare speech.

Of course, Wilson’s opponent, Democrat Rob Miller, used the event to raise the second-most of any House candidate, at $1.7 million. South Carolina viewers should expect to see plenty of political advertising over the next year.

Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE (D-Fla.) stepped up his fundraising even before he accused Republicans of wanting Americans to “die quickly.” While he raised more than $60,000 in the single day between his comment and the end of the quarter, he had already upped his fundraising to near $300,000 before that – in large part thanks to an Aug. 19 fundraiser with Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response Biden tells CNN town hall that he has benefited from white privilege MORE.

Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) showed he’s back on the horse, too, with more than $500,000 raised. He doubled up freshman Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.), who won Pearce’s seat while the Republican was running for Senate last year.

The bad

Hyped challengers to several targeted incumbents didn’t do much with their third quarters.

Raising less than $100,000 for the quarter were Republican Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyBarry Moore wins Alabama GOP runoff to replace Martha Roby The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday Collins Senate bid sets off game of musical chairs for GOP MORE, who is challenging Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.); Republican Van Tran, who is challenging Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); Democrat Chris Craft, who is challenging Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.); Democrat Todd Book, who is challenging Rep. Jean Schimdt (R-Ohio); Republican David SchweikertDavid SchweikertHouse Democratic campaign leader predicts bigger majority Democrat Hiral Tipirneni wins Ariz. primary to challenge Rep. David Schweikert Ethics watchdog finds 'substantial' evidence of improper spending by Rep. Sanford Bishop MORE, who is challenging Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.); and several GOP challengers to Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.).

Schweikert and his primary opponent both raised less than $40,000.

Book’s primary opponent, former independent candidate David Krikorian, outraised him $102,000 to $64,000, and that comes after Krikorian reportedly threatened to run as an independent again because the party establishment favors Book.

Several incumbents also turned in sub-$100,000 quarters, despite potentially tough 2010 challenges. In addition to Lincoln Davis, John Tanner and Bill Young, they include Reps. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum House Democratic campaign leader predicts bigger majority Young wins Alaska GOP House primary MORE (R-Alaska), Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthGOP, White House struggle to unite behind COVID-19 relief House seeks ways to honor John Lewis Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push MORE (D-Ky.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.).