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Senate Dems pad cash leads in key races

In World
April 16, 2024

Senate Democrats are racing further ahead of their GOP rivals in fundraising as they ready for a tough battle to keep their narrow majority.

Democratic candidates and incumbents outraised Republicans over the first three months of this year in six of the seven most competitive races critical to control of the chamber. Some of them did so by huge margins.

The incumbents in the most challenging races raised the most, ensuring that they will be able to mount the strongest possible campaigns as they seek to win reelection in states that former President Donald Trump will likely carry.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio raised $12.1 million in the first quarter of the year. That’s three times more than GOP nominee Bernie Moreno, who prevailed in a crowded primary last month. And Brown has nine times more in cash on hand after Moreno’s bruising primary.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana raised $8 million in the first quarter. His likely Republican opponent, Tim Sheehy, brought in $3.1 million.

In Nevada, Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen raised $5 million, more than twice as much as Republican Sam Brown, who is backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In Michigan, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin raised four times more than former Rep. Mike Rogers, the NRSC’s preferred candidate for that open seat. In Arizona, Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego raised $7.5 million, more than twice as much as Republican Kari Lake.

The cash-on-hand difference is even starker since most Democrats have been banking campaign cash for years.

Across the seven most competitive races, Democratic candidates raised a collective $82.3 million. The NRSC-endorsed candidates in those seven states had just $21.5 million.

While Democrats are winning the cash dash, they still face brutal odds in November. The map is stacked against them. Republicans may need only one seat to retake the majority and they have a near-guaranteed pickup in West Virginia.

But Republicans knew they would be outraised by Democrats and prepared for this moment, carefully courting candidates who are wealthy and can donate to their own campaigns. That strategy is already beginning to pay off.

A bright spot for the GOP lies in Wisconsin, where Republican Eric Hovde seeded his bid with $8 million and bested Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s $5.4 million quarter. In Pennsylvania, Dave McCormick raised $5.4 million, including a nearly $1 million loan. That brought him nearly even with Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who raised $5.7 million.

Democrats have a self-funder of their own in Maryland, a solidly blue state where Republicans hope former Gov. Larry Hogan’s candidacy will make them competitive. Democratic Rep. David Trone has now invested nearly $42 million in his campaign for the state’s open Senate seat. He is battling with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in next month’s primary.

Republicans recruited Hogan, who reported raising nearly $1.9 million since his February launch. But Hogan, like many GOP candidates, could have a flush super PAC helping his campaign. GOP megadonor Ken Griffin seeded a Maryland-focused super PAC with $10 million.

Texas remains Democrats’ best offensive opportunity, and they have a financial edge there too. Democratic Rep. Colin Allred raised $9.5 million to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s $7 million.

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