Sat. May 18th, 2024

Democrats begin to outpace Republicans in fundraising for key House races

By 37ci3 Apr19,2024



Republicans have sounded the alarm in recent years that Democrats are outperforming their candidates in fundraising. And yet made some improvements last yearSome of the most vulnerable House Republicans are again trailing their Democratic rivals.

New fundraising reports released this week showed Democratic candidates ahead of Republicans in nearly every one of the most competitive seats in the House race, a setback for Republicans hoping their candidate would turn the corner.

Money alone doesn’t determine winners and losers, especially during a presidential term when voters’ attention will be most focused on the top of the ticket. And Republicans expect their candidates and outside efforts to be well-funded. But with Democrats needing just four seats to regain control of the House, incumbents and their opponents entered April in much better financial shape than their Republican rivals.

Republicans acknowledge the fundraising gap isn’t ideal, but they’re allaying concerns — at least to the public.

“Our swing district officials continue to raise the money they need to defeat their extreme opponents,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Will Reinert said in a statement.

The latest fundraising reports, covering the first three months of the year, also come as Republicans navigate life without a prolific fundraiser experienced as speaker after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy (and with incumbent Speaker Mike Johnson battling persistent intra-party threats to his leadership).

In races rated a “shootout” by The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, 10 of the 11 Republican incumbents were favored by at least one Democratic challenger. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon was the only GOP member to lead her district in fundraising in that category.

Republicans elected include: Reps. David Schweikert and Juan Ciscomani of Arizona; John Duarte, David Valadao, Mike Garcia and Ken Calvert California; Tom Keane Jr. of New Jersey; and Mike Lawler, Mark Molinaro and Anthony D’Esposito of New York.

In races with Schweikert, Garcia, Calvert, Lawler and Molinaro, a Democratic candidate also finished the first quarter of 2024 with more cash than the incumbent.

Republican candidates were also highly regarded in two other Michigan state “throwaway” seats being vacated by Democratic incumbents.

Democrats also had strong fundraising in several other seats more likely to remain in Republican hands, with their candidates beating Republican Reps. Kevin Keeley of California, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Zach Nunn of Iowa, Don Bacon. Nebraska and Nick LaLota of New York. But these Republicans still had more money.

House Democrat candidates there is had a financial advantage over GOP opponents since the Democratic small-dollar fundraising boom that took place after former President Donald Trump took office. In 2018, this advantage helped them take control of the House. But just two years later, the GOP, despite operating with a deficit, won big in the House battlegrounds, setting the party up to take back the majority in 2022.

Despite these gains, party strategists still raise concerns about the disparity in candidate funding, which gives Democrats a significant on-air advantage because candidates receive less television advertising than fringe groups.

Democrats are confident they will continue to hold the fiscal advantage until November. Only two of their vulnerable incumbents — Reps. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas — were highly regarded by likely GOP opponents.

On average, Democratic incumbents in tossup races raised an average of more than $1 million in the first quarter, while the average GOP candidate in a similar race raised $619,000.

“Anyone can see the writing on the wall: House Republicans, plagued by chaos and crisis, are about to lose their majorities,” Viet Shelton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

Republicans in competitive races took a step their fundraising last year because they are trying to defend their elegant majority. The NRCC also launched a “million-dollar mission” to encourage lawmakers to help their colleagues’ campaigns and raise weak incumbents’ bills throughout the year.

McCarthy’s speech hit GOP fundraising. Speaker Mike Johnson joint fundraising committeeWeak GOP lawmakers and state party money transfer , from January to March collected $ 9.1 million. McCarthy’s similar committee Compared to the same period of the last year, it brought three times more income – 28.9 million dollars.

Still, even those within the party who have sounded the alarm in the past about the GOP’s fundraising disadvantage believe the gap has narrowed enough to mute any significant impact.

“You can’t be outscored 5 or 6 to 1, but that’s not what happens in racing. In this environment, you can underspend and still have an advantage,” said veteran GOP strategist Corrie Bliss, who previously ran the House Republicans’ top super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund.

Bliss argued that the top of the ticket will have a more significant impact than the GOP candidates’ fundraising shortfalls, especially given that super PACs like CLF continue to fundraise strongly.

“Joe Biden’s approval rating, Joe Biden’s foreign policy, Joe Biden’s economic policy will be the most important thing in these House races,” he said.

“Of course, given the choice, you want more money than your opponent. But given the vote, I’ll buy Joe Biden with 5 gallons of gas and a 34% approval rating [stronger] Online Fundraising”.

Foreign super PACs like CLF will still play a big role in House races, especially in the expensive TV markets of New York and California, home to many of the top battlegrounds. CLF and the House Democrats’ House Majority PAC are both well-funded.

But funding a strong candidate could allow outside groups to boost the GOP candidate’s spending rather than shouldering the entire burden.

“This allows CLFs and super PACs to be the whipped cream and cherry in the ad market, not the full three scoops,” said Matt Gorman, a former NRCC spokesman, arguing that Republican candidates’ fundraising is better than it has been in a number of times. years ago.

Still, not everyone dismisses concerns about a potentially widening fundraising gap.

“We’re always concerned when we see our incumbents and candidates spend money,” said one national GOP strategist who has been involved in House races.



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