Jul 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Charted: Senate cash cows

Data: FEC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has more cash on hand to spend on his Senate run than any individual presidential campaign, according to new FEC data.

Why it matters: In an election cycle poised to break records for campaign spending, the hotly contested race to fill Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) open seat is expected to be one of the most expensive in the country.

Zoom in: After raising more than $8 million in Q2, Schiff has nearly $30 million in cash on hand — more than any other federal candidate, including for president.

  • Schiff, already a prolific fundraiser, received a surge in donations after House Republicans vote to censure him last month for leading investigations into former President Trump.
  • President Biden's campaign raised about $20 million in Q2, though that figure balloons to more than $72 million when combined with the Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising committee.

The big picture: Democrats are facing a historically difficult Senate map in 2024, defending seats in three states former President Trump won in 2020.

  • The new FEC data shows that Democrats' most vulnerable candidates have plenty to spend after posting strong Q2 fundraising figures.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has not officially launched his re-election campaign and has teased a third-party presidential run, ranks second among prospective Senate candidates.
  • Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are also in the top 10 for cash on hand.
Data: FEC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Schiff and one of his top rivals for the Senate seat, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), have both benefitted from leftover money from their past House campaigns.

  • Schiff ended the 2022 campaign cycle with more than $21 million cash on hand, and Porter ended with more than $7 million, according to FEC data.
  • Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), who is vying to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was also one of last quarter's most prolific fundraisers and ranks third in cash on hand when Senate incumbents are excluded.

Yes, but: Money isn't everything, even in politics. Despite Schiff's clear fundraising wins, polling averages show the primary race is still neck and neck.

Go deeper