Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Dems take battleground leads in Q1 fundraising

Data: ProPublica FEC Itemizer; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
Data: ProPublica FEC Itemizer; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Both incumbent and non-incumbent Democratic candidates are outraising their Republican counterparts in battleground Senate races, according to new campaign finance reports for the first quarter of the year.

Why it matters: Democrats face a difficult midterm season in November. The new filings indicate their best hope: an electorate that’s energized — even if on both sides — by the high stakes of races that will decide control of Congress.

Details: Senate Democratic incumbents continue to post record-breaking hauls.

  • Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona had the highest tallies among the group.
  • While raising far less cash than their two fellow Democrats, Sens. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada were significantly ahead of their Republican opponents.

Between the lines: Many of the Republican candidates are self-funded — significantly.

  • While Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate in Pennsylvania who recently received President Trump’s endorsement, raised $7.8 million in Q1, some $5.85 million was his own money.
  • The same for Dave McCormick, Oz’s primary opponent. Of the $11.3 million he raised, nearly $7 million came from his own contributions.

Thought bubble: While their campaign fundraising lags, a number of top GOP candidates also enjoy the support of deep-pocketed super PACs funded by high-dollar donors.

  • That could help even the playing field in a number of general election contests, writes Lachlan Markay, Axios' campaign finance expert.

What they’re saying: “While Republicans’ flawed candidates attack each other in brutal, expensive primaries, Senate Democrats' record-setting fundraising demonstrates the strong grassroots support behind our campaigns,” said Eli Cousins, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

  • Chris Hartline, spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, countered: “Republicans across the country are posting strong fundraising numbers while Democrats have already spent tens of millions of dollars to prop up their incumbents with nothing to show for it.”
  • He added that voters are “rejecting the Democrat agenda in the polls, and will reject Democrats at the ballot box this November.”
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