Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: FEC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The battle for control of the U.S. Senate has triggered unprecedented fundraising at the congressional level, with one Democratic candidate out-raising Al Gore in his presidential race just 20 years ago.

By the numbers: The top 10 Senate fundraisers in 2020 brought in more than double the money raised by the top 10 campaigns in 2018, raking in over $1 billion collectively, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission by Dec. 24.

In Georgia, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have collectively raised $446.7 million this election cycle.

  • That exceeds the 2018 total brought in by the top nine Senate candidates.
  • Ossoff and Warnock smashed fundraising records in the last reporting period, each receiving over $100 million in two months. The $140 million total raised by Ossoff this cycle exceeds Gore's tally from 2000.
  • This year's fundraising has been propelled by the closeness of the results on Election Day in November. If Democrats can win both runoffs Tuesday, they can gain a 50-50 split in the Senate and a future Vice President Kamala Harris will cast tie-breaking votes in their favor.

The big picture: In the 2000 presidential race, Gore raised $133 million himself; adjusted for inflation, that would equal $201 million today.

  • The overall total raised by Gore and George W. Bush would equate to $494 million in today's dollars, or less than half of the 2020 Senate totals.

The bottom line: While money matters, especially in races as close as the Georgia runoffs, remember that Jaime Harrison, Amy McGrath and Sara Gideon were some of 2020's biggest fundraisers.

  • The three Democrats soundly lost in their bids to unseat Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins, respectively.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.

Avril Haines confirmed as director of national intelligence

Haines. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the director of national intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and she will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

Schumer plans to pick Gary Peters to run DSCC

Sen. Gary Peters. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is poised to name Sen. Gary Peters to head their party's Senate fundraising arm for the pivotal midterm elections, a move he hopes will allow him to retain his title, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Peters will be tasked with raising the enormous amounts of money Democrats will need to preserve their razor-thin majority. The appointment is something of a surprise, given the Michigander is viewed as a low-key Midwesterner.