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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

McConnell defends filibuster: "You don’t destroy the Senate for fleeting advantage"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
13 mins ago - Economy & Business

Stock buybacks are kicking back into high gear

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was expected that with the economy improving and company balance sheets already loaded with cash, U.S. firms would slow down their debt issuance in 2021 after setting records in 2020. But just the opposite has happened.

Why it matters: Companies generally issue bonds for one of two reasons — because they're worried about not having enough cash to cover their expenses or because they want to lever up and make risky bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.