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Republicans worry as Democratic Senate candidates set massive fundraising records

Democrats are posting record fundraising hauls in key contests across the country.

By Emily Singer - July 08, 2020
Jaime Harrison

Democratic Senate candidates are posting massive fundraising hauls and setting fundraising records, potentially giving Democrats an edge in their quest to win back control of Congress’ upper chamber in November.

The fundraising totals are a sign of enthusiasm among the Democratic base to wrest the Senate majority from Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The figures are also causing concern among Republicans, who are worried that an onslaught of ads could hurt their chances in the fall, when they’re defending 23 seats, CNN reported.

Republicans had similar concerns in 2018, when Democratic House candidates were raking in millions, oftentimes outraising both GOP incumbents and candidates alike. Those GOP concerns were valid, as Democrats used that fundraising advantage to run a bevy of ads on health care, helping the party ride a wave to take back the House majority for the first time in eight years.

So far, Republicans have yet to release their fundraising numbers from the second quarter of 2020, which ran from April 1 through June 30. The deadline to release their numbers is July 15.

According to HuffPost, Republicans believe Democratic candidates outraised them almost every single race.

That could prove problematic for the GOP, as campaign finance laws give candidates better advertising rates than super PACs — which Republicans have historically relied on to make up for their fundraising disadvantage.

That means even if GOP super PACs spend the same amount of money as a Democratic Senate candidate, the Democratic candidates’ money goes further.

Ultimately, the numbers from Democratic senate candidates are eye-popping.

Jaime Harrison, the Democratic nominee taking on GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, raised nearly $14 million between April 1 and June 30, almost doubling the $7.3 million he raised in the first three months of 2020.

Amy McGrath, the Democratic nominee in Kentucky taking on McConnell, pulled in $17.4 million in the second quarter of 2020 — more than the $12.6 million she raised in the first quarter.

The Republicans are favored in both of those races, however the influx of cash could make the races more competitive.

Democrats also raised huge sums in ultra-competitive contests that could prove key to Democrats winning control of the chamber. Democrats need to net three seats for control if they also win the White House, or four seats if they do not.

Sara Gideon, the likely Democratic nominee to face off against Republican Sen. Susan Collins in Maine, raised $9 million in the second quarter.

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock raised $7.7 million in his race to take on GOP Sen. Steve Daines. That fundraising haul set a record in Montana.

And Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee taking on North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, raised $7.4 million — a record single-quarter haul for a North Carolina Senate candidate, according to the Hill.

All three of those races are rated a toss-up by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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