Apr 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Democratic Senate candidates rout GOP in fundraising

Total Q1 2024 fundraising in select Senate races
Data: FEC filings, Senate campaign officials. Candidate's self funding numbers not included; Chart:Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Just about every Democrat running in competitive Senate races this year significantly out-raised their GOP challenger in the first quarter, according to an Axios analysis of fundraising data.

Why it matters: Incumbents typically have an advantage when it comes to fundraising. But with Democrats scrapping to protect a slim majority, every dollar counts.

  • The Senate map is unfavorable for Democrats, with a handful of vulnerable incumbents facing down challengers in purple states.
  • But the early fundraising advantage is a boost to the party in its uphill climb to keep control of the chamber.

The big picture: In at least six of the most competitive Senate races, Democrats out-raised their GOP opponents.

  • Five Democratic incumbents raised more money than their GOP opponents. Four of those incumbents more than doubled their challenger's fundraising haul.
  • One of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was out-raised by his Democratic challenger Colin Allred.
  • And in the open-seat race in Arizona, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Az.) nearly doubled the money raised by Republican Kari Lake.

Between the lines: Several wealthy candidates have dumped even more money into their campaigns.

  • Hovde invested $8 million of his own money. McCormick loaned himself $1 million, and Sheehy $500,000.
  • David Trone has spent an eye-popping $40 million-plus of his own money running in Maryland— and may not even be the Democratic nominee.

Context: Some Republican challengers, like Moreno in Ohio, faced a contentious primary process, which spread donor money across a number of candidates.

  • Maryland Republican Larry Hogan raised $3.1 million, but it is unclear who his Democratic counterpart in the race will be.
  • In Michigan and Florida, Democratic Senate candidates have also out-raised their Republican counterparts — even with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) as an incumbent.

What they're saying: Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), told Axios that Democrats have "not only a fundraising advantage — they're right on the issues and they've got a solid track record."

  • National Republican Senatorial Committee Communication Director Mike Berg told Axios that "Democrat career politicians who have spent decades building donor relationships in the swamp are typically going to out-raise challengers."
  • DSCC spokesperson Tommy Garcia said, "Battle-tested Senate Democrats' strong fundraising is a testament to the support they have earned from voters and grassroots supporters."

Editor's note: This article, including the chart, has been corrected to note that Ted Cruz raised $6.9 million in the first quarter (not $9.7 million) and trailed Colin Allred. The article and chart have been updated to reflect only fundraising by candidates' principal fundraising committees.

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