Jul 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Democrats see post-Roe campaign cash surge

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with a donkey as the face.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic House campaigns in battleground districts across the country have seen a surge of donations — and new donors — in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The sudden influx is a bright spot for Democrats in what has otherwise been a difficult campaign marked by rising inflation and costs, potentially validating a strategy of focusing more heavily on abortion on the campaign trail.

Driving the news: New York House candidate Pat Ryan raised over $1 million in the six weeks since announcing his campaign, nearly 40% of which came in the week following the ruling, Axios has learned.

  • Ryan, who is running in the August special election in New York's 19th District, told Axios his race is "the first competitive congressional election in a post-Roe world" and that he plans to put abortion at "the center" of his campaign.
  • His best fundraising day of the campaign was June 26, the day after the ruling, followed by June 29 and 30.

By the numbers: Incumbent Democrats defending swing districts have seen similar surges, driven by increased digital engagement from grassroots donors.

  • Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) raised over $1 million between April and June, her best quarter of the cycle, her spokesperson Sarah Carlson told Axios. Wild's online contributions from new donors more than doubled after the ruling.
  • Rep. Angie Craig's (D-Minn.) campaign saw a three-fold increase in text donations and a 60% increase in donations generated by Facebook ads.
  • Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) raised $100,000 in June, her best fundraising month of the cycle — driven by $20,000 raised from texts alone after the ruling.

What they're saying: "We are seeing an overwhelming response from supporters who feel strongly ... that holding the House is critical in the fight for reproductive rights," Carlson told Axios in a statement.

The big picture: The fundraising boon goes beyond House campaigns. Candidates up and down the ballot have seen their coffers swell, as have party committees.

  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for instance, "broke cycle-long records" with its online content immediately following the ruling, according to a DSCC aide. The day of the ruling and the day after were its best and second-best days of the cycle, respectively.
  • The Democratic Governors Association said it raised $1 million in the week following the Dobbs decision — 10% of its overall fundraising in the first six months of 2022.
  • A total of $89 million was raised on ActBlue, the go-to online fundraising platform for Democrats, between 10:30am on June 24 — the day of the decision — and the end of June, spokesperson Mike Naple told Axios.

Reality check: Money may not be enough to save Democrats. House Democrats, for example, crushed the GOP in fundraising in 2020 only to lose seats.

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