Stories

The Kavanaugh cash surge

Brett Kavanaugh submerged in coins
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight has led to a huge increase in donations to Democrats and groups that support them — and Republicans say the battle has been good for their fundraising, too.

Why it matters: It's tangible evidence that the bitter Supreme Court showdown is turning into massive energy for the midterm elections. Republicans have said a "Brett bounce" is increasing enthusiasm among their base, but the fundraising numbers suggest that Democrats are also fired up and throwing all the money they can at the elections.

By the numbers:

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm that works on House races, says it raised $400,000 from emails and texts in the 30 hours after Christine Blasey Ford's testimony.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris of California raised over $400,000 for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota (who voted against Kavanaugh) in just 24 hours from a single email, per NBC News. Heitkamp is one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents in the November elections.
  • The DCCC says it also raised $4.38 million from the end of September to Oct. 5 — the day it was clear Kavanaugh would be confirmed.
  • Republicans have reported huge fundraising increases too, though they're not releasing specific dollar amounts. Instead, an aide at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the group in charge of House races, says it saw a 418% increase in online donations in the first week of October compared to the first week of September.
  • And Ronna McDaniel, who heads the Republican National Committee, tweeted that the group had raised 500% more in the first week of October than it did during the first week of September.
  • During the week of Kavanaugh's confirmation, the National Democratic Training Committee, which trains and invests in Democratic candidates throughout the country, raised $240,000 — the group's best seven-day fundraising period since it launched in the summer of 2016. The day before the Kavanaugh vote, it received a record $40,000.
  • ActBlue — the online fundraising platform that has raised over $1 billion for Democrats this cycle — raised nearly $10 million on Oct. 5 and another $9 million on Oct. 6. The group says that was its third and sixth biggest fundraising days, respectively.
  • The Senate campaign arms, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee, haven't released numbers.

Between the lines: Both parties say their supporters are more enthusiastic about the elections now — Democrats because they believe the Senate didn't listen to Ford, Republicans because they believe Kavanaugh was the victim of a partisan hit job. But it's harder to evaluate their evidence for a Republican money surge, since they're refusing to release specific dollar amounts the way the Democrats have.

  • One Republican strategist who's working on midterm congressional campaigns said: "Sure, Kavanaugh is animating white, college-educated women, but guess what? They were not voting for a Republican a month ago and they’re still not."

The bottom line: Money isn't everything, but it's a good sign that Kavanaugh is going to drive a lot of angry voters to the polls on Nov. 6.