Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Senate Fundraising Winners and Losers

From: National Journal

During the second quarter of the year, Senate Democrats largely won the fundraising battle, but the power of well-funded Republican outside groups will even the playing field in races with weak Republican candidates for whom fundraising has not been a strong suit.

Individually, the period's standouts were mainly familiar faces who had already demonstrated a knack for hauling in big bucks. The quarter's biggest disappointments also largely had a history of lackluster numbers; but now they also face a race against time with most of the remaining primaries slated for August. With just one more complete fundraising quarter left until Election Day, here are our second quarter Senate fundraising winners and losers:

Winners
The Massachusetts Field : Republican Sen. Scott Brown's Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren is hands down the cycle's most impressive fundraiser. Once again, she enjoyed (by far) the most productive quarter of any Senate candidate, bringing in $8.6 million. She finished the quarter with $13.5 million in the bank, closing in on Brown.

But Brown deserves a mention here, too. Though he's been left off past winners lists because Warren outraised him, he's a fundraising star in his own right. He had the second largest haul of any Senate candidate this quarter, adding $5 million to his warchest and staying ahead of Warren with $15.5 million in the bank. With their pact to curb the influence of outside groups still in place, candidate fundraising matters more here than anywhere else on the map.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine: Kaine raised $3 million in a state where he'll need to get his message out, with Crossroads expected to be a major player in both the Senate race and presidential contest. Kaine ended the period with $2.7 million in the bank and purchased (not just reserved) $3.5 million worth of fall airtime. Former Republican Sen. George Allen, meanwhile, raised $2 million and ended with $3.34 million in the bank with fall ad time reserved, but not purchased.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.: As the Republicans beat each other up, Baldwin is building quite the warchest for the fall. She raised $2.2 million - more than Republicans Tommy Thompson and Mark Neumann combined - and ended the period with an impressive $3.5 million on hand. Considering that the second quarter overlapped with the state's historic recall election, where most of the money went, Baldwin's haul is even more notable.
Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey: In many respects Kerrey has had a rough quarter and polling shows him lagging badly behind his Republican opponent, state Sen. Deb Fischer. It's a tough environment to raise money in, with the race increasingly looking like a longshot for Democrats. But the former senator managed a surprisingly strong quarter, raising close to $2 million while Fischer brought in $1.3 million. Kerrey still has a very tough road ahead, but he's certainly fighting to stay in the game, financially.

The New Mexico Field: Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich nearly tripled his first quarter output, jumping up from $490,000 to a hefty $1.4 million during the second quarter and banking $1.8 million. Not to be outdone, former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson topped Heinrich's mark, hauling in $1.6 million and ending the quarter with comparable money ($1.6 million) to Heinrich in the bank. Republicans take the idea of a pickup here very seriously even though the state tilts Democratic. Wilson's performance so far has only increased their optimism.

Losers
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson: Up against a self-funding millionaire and a candidate backed by the Club For Growth, Thompon needed to silence critics with a big number. He didn't do it, raising just $834,000. For a former four-term governor and cabinet secretary who worked on the lobbying circuit to not even crack a million dollars is difficult to explain. Polls show Thompson with an early lead in the GOP race, but he's not helping his cause by putting up another weak number.

Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman: Steelman had her best quarter yet, bringing in $240,000 and ending June with $561,000 cash on hand. But that's not saying much. Steelman's fundraising has been consistently weak since she entered the race. She is fighting her way through a tight three-way GOP primary contest, and on August 7 she could conceivably emerge a winner. If that happens, she'll likely have little money on hand for the tough fall battle with Sen. Claire McCaskill. Yes, outside groups are helping to pummel McCaskill, and the eventual GOP nominee will get financial support in the general election. But in a GOP race that is very much up in the air, Steelman could fall short simply because she lacks the money to compete.

Major-party nominees in Maine: Independent Angus King simply dominated the GOP and Democratic candidates for Senate from Maine. Due to pre-primary reports, the candidates' most recent report covered May 24 - June 30. King took in $468,000 and finished the period with over $503,000 cash on hand. Republican nominee Charlie Summers raised just $149,000 and has $119,000 on hand. Democratic nominee Cynthia Dill raised a paltry $66,000, and has about $28,000 cash on hand. King is in complete control of this race; the second quarter FEC numbers only further reinforced this fact.

Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla.: Mack brought in $840,000 and ended the period with $1.35 million on hand. That's far below Sen. Bill Nelson's massive $11 million cash on hand total. Mack has been polling well in a potential general election contest with Nelson, and should have been able to pull out a better quarter. He will have plenty of supplementary support in the general election-- American Crossroads has reserved $6.2 million in fall airtime and he has a super PAC supporting him - but to be below the $1 million mark in a very expensive state when you are polling within single digits of an incumbent is a sign of weakness.
The Connecticut Underdogs: If former Republican Rep. Chris Shays and former Democratic Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz plan to make their opponents sweat in the primary, they sure aren't doing it with dollar signs. Shays, up against the wealthy Linda McMahon, raised $531,000 and will not even be running TV ads. Bysiewicz's $355,000 haul was far less than Rep. Chris Murphy's healthy $1.2 million and her less than a million in the bank is under one third of the $3.1 million Murphy banked.


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