Jul 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Dems amass early war chest for brutal 2024 Senate map

Colin Allred

Rep. Colin Allred. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Democratic voters may not be enthused by the prospect of renominating President Biden in 2024, but preliminary new fundraising figures suggest there's no shortage of grassroots energy for the party's top Senate candidates.

Why it matters: Democrats are facing a historically difficult Senate map next year — playing defense in three states won by former President Trump in 2020 (Ohio, Montana and West Virginia), with minimal pickup opportunities.

  • Biden's second-term agenda would be crushed if Republicans take the Senate — puncturing his 2024 campaign pledge to "finish the job" on key economic policies.
  • Judicial confirmations — currently the Senate's top priority with the GOP in control of the House — would grind to a halt.

Driving the news: Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) raised a staggering $6.2 million the first two months of his campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a perennial villain for Democrats who represents one of the only potentially competitive seats held by a Republican.

  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), who came within three points of defeating Cruz in 2018, was a fundraising juggernaut in his own right — but took nine months to raise the sum Allred reported in his first 59 days.
  • Allred, a former NFL linebacker and Obama administration official, also transferred an additional $2.4 million from his House campaign account.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) raised more than $4 million in the last three months — his best fundraising quarter ever, even before he has an official Republican challenger in the critical battleground state.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first openly LGBT woman elected to the Senate, raised $3.2 million, which her campaign claims is a record high for an off-year Wisconsin Senate race.

Between the lines: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) broke the record for Q2 Senate fundraising in an off-year with more than $8.1 million, much of it coming after he was censured by House Republicans for his role investigating Trump as chair of the Intelligence Committee.

  • Schiff or one of his Democratic rivals, Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), is bound to be elected in deep-blue California — but the gusher of grassroots cash is an encouraging sign for the party this early in the 2024 campaign.

The other side: The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is taking a much more hands-on approach to recruiting under the leadership of Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), saw its own encouraging signs Wednesday.

  • In Nevada, retired U.S. Army Capt. Sam Brown, a top NRSC recruitment target, is likely to launch a Senate campaign against Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen, NBC News reported.
  • In Montana, Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke endorsed NRSC-backed Senate candidate Tim Sheehy — the latest GOP attempt to discourage right-wing Rep. Matt Rosendale from running in one of the nation's most important Senate races.
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