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Lure of taking majority hasn’t spurred Senate Republicans to out-raise Dems

Senior Senate Republicans have sat on flush campaign accounts despite prodding from National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John CornynJohn CornynO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown MORE, who has pleaded with colleagues to send funds to aid GOP candidates in battleground states.

While Cornyn (Texas) has motivated some of his more junior colleagues to open up their war chests in pursuit of a Republican Senate majority, he has had less success than his counterpart, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (Wash.), chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

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The disparity in motivation has helped Senate Democrats out-raise Republicans by $14 million this cycle. It has also strengthened the chances Democrats will hold onto the majority, despite dire prognostications by election handicappers at the start of the election cycle.

The DSCC reported $114 million in total receipts through Oct. 17, compared to the NRSC’s reported $100 million, according to data compiled by the Federal Election Commission.

Since August, Murray has collected a $1 million contribution from Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (N.Y.), $315,000 from Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), a $250,000 gift from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (N.Y.), $250,000 from Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusOvernight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor Judge boots Green Party from Montana ballot in boost to Tester MORE (Mont.), $200,000 from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDurbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue GOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks MORE (D-Calif.), $200,000 from Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Republican Senate candidate apologizes after swastika spotted in campaign ad Poll: Dem Stabenow has 9-point lead over Republican James in Michigan Senate race MORE (Mich.) and $120,000 from Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryNikki Haley powerfully rebuts Trump Khashoggi prompts Trump to reconsider human rights in foreign policy Biden: ‘Totally legitimate’ to question age if he runs in 2020 MORE (Mass.), according to fundraising reports.

Six of the seven biggest donors to the DSCC are senior Democratic senators, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website that tracks fundraising. 

The OpenSecrets list, which does not include the most recent data and thus missed Schumer’s donation, ranked Sen. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) No. 1 with $600,000 in contributions. It showed Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight MORE (Ill.), in second place with $485,000 in giving, and Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard National security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms MORE (Mich.) in third with $400,000.

A list of the NRSC’s top 20 contributors published by OpenSecrets did not include a single Republican senator. 

The biggest congressional contributor to the NRSC has been Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats slide in battle for Senate McConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Pelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care MORE (Ky.), who gave two $61,600 contributions to the committee in August. He gave an additional $30,000 from his Bluegrass Committee PAC, according to a review of fundraising documents by The Hill.

Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnAmerican patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access Live coverage: Donnelly, Braun clash in Indiana debate The Hill's Morning Report — How will the Kavanaugh saga impact the midterms? MORE (R-Okla.) ranked a close second after transferring $150,000 from his campaign account in September. 

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel The National Trails System is celebrating 50 years today — but what about the next 50 years? MORE (N.C.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhy grizzly bear hunting season isn’t happening Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Dems to force health care vote weeks before Nov. midterms MORE (Wyo.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE (Ala.) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Through a national commitment to youth sports, we can break the obesity cycle Florida politics play into disaster relief debate MORE (S.D.) all gave $100,000 from their campaign accounts, fundraising reports show.

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate Republicans demand Google hand over memo advising it to hide data vulnerability Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators demand answers on Trump administration backing of Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (Kan.), who is running to succeed Cornyn as NRSC chairman, gave $55,000 from his campaign committee in October. Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Senate eyes Kavanaugh floor vote next week MORE (Ga.) and James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGraham: 'Game changer' if Saudis behind journalist's disappearance GOP senators ask EPA to block states that have 'hijacked' rule to stop fossil fuel production Pentagon releases report on sexual assault risk MORE (Okla.) each gave $50,000 at the end of September.

But many senior GOP senators who would be poised to take over as committee chairmen if Senate control flipped have not given major donations, despite pleading from Cornyn.

Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranThe Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam GOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race MORE (Miss.), who would become chairman of the Appropriations Committee, gave $30,000 from his leadership PAC, the Senate Victory Fund. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (Iowa), who could become chairman of the Finance or Judiciary panel, gave $30,000 in contributions from his Hawkeye PAC.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK MORE (Utah), who could vie with Grassley for the Finance gavel, gave $20,000 from Orrin PAC, according to a review of fundraising reports and data compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

The relative lack of generosity from colleagues has been a persistent source of frustration for Cornyn, who sat them down at a meeting at NRSC headquarters in late July for a pep talk.

He showed them a slide illustrating how much more money Democratic senators contributed to their party committee compared to Republicans.

“The Democrats have always been more aggressive at that than we have. What I did is, I showed them what they’ve done and I showed them where the gap was and challenged them to step up,” he told The Hill at the time.

The locker-room huddle appeared to have an impact. 

Burr, DeMint, Isakson, Inhofe, Barrasso, Sessions and Thune made their large donations when they returned to Washington after the August recess.

Burr has also given $45,000 from his leadership PAC. Barrasso, Inhofe and Thune have given another $30,000 from their leadership accounts.

Retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) gave two $48,000 contributions from her campaign account in early August, fundraising records show.

Prodding fiscally conservative Republican senators to give lavishly from their personal campaign funds to the party’s cause has been a perennial chore for NRSC chairmen.

In the fall of 2005, then-NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) held a series of one-on-one meetings with colleagues to urge them to narrow the fundraising gap with Democrats. 

During a meeting at NRSC headquarters the following year, Dole handed out orange-and-black toolboxes to colleagues to deliver a not-so-subtle message: Get to work. The toolboxes contained hammers, slide rules and tape measures.

After the 2004 election cycle, former NRSC Chairman George Allen (Va.) groused about how difficult it was to raise money from colleagues. He thought himself to be operating at a disadvantage because Republican caucus rules did not require members to give to the party committee.

“It was very tough,” he said at the time.

Senate Republican aides note, however, that lawmakers can help the NRSC in other ways. 

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), for example, who could resume his chairmanship of the Banking Committee, has not transferred much money to the committee, but he has raised substantial amounts for Senate Republican candidates.

McConnell has raised over $3 million for Senate Republican candidates this cycle, according to a senior GOP aide. He has hosted or been the featured speaker at over 80 breakfasts, lunches, receptions and dinners for candidates.

— This story was updated at 1:25 p.m.