339 million reasons the GOP could lose the Senate

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In every major Senate race this election cycle, Democratic candidates have exponentially outraised their Republican opponents.

In the 15 most competitive Senate races this election cycle, every single Democratic candidate outpaced the fundraising of their Republican opponent by a staggering amount.

A CQ Roll Call analysis of Federal Election Commission reports said that the Democratic candidates' total receipts during the third quarter of 2020 were $339 million, and Republicans only raised $137 million.

Most notably, GOP incumbent Lindsey Graham's challenger for his South Carolina Senate seat, Jaime Harrison, raised $57 million in the third quarter to Graham's $28 million.

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Arizona Democratic candidate Mark Kelly raised $38.8 million next to incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally's $22.3 million.

And, in a startling turn of events, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins raised only $8.3 million in the third quarter, while her Democratic challenger, state House Speaker Sara Gideon, raised $39.4 million.

Donald Trump himself recently remarked that Collins was "Not worth the work!" to support, which could make her campaign fundraising even harder.

There's more than one reason for the sudden surge in donations to Democratic nominees in the 2020 election cycle.

The death on Sept. 18 of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prompted unprecedented levels of donations from grassroots Democratic donors. The Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue reported $100 million in small-dollar donations the weekend following Ginsburg's death, with $6.2 million pouring in in the first hour after her death and $6.3 million in the second.

The same weekend, a Democratic fundraising group called "Get Mitch or Die Trying," whose mission is gaining back the Senate majority, announced that in the two days after Ginsburg's death it had raised $21 million.

And Trump's wild unpopularity isn't helping prospects for Republican candidates.

His approval rating currently sits at roughly 45%, with his average approval rating hovering around 40% during his time in office.

This is the lowest average approval rating of any president in modern history, since approval ratings were first tracked in the late 1930s during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Doug Heye, a Republican strategist, said last week: "It's very clear from what we are seeing in polling and fundraising numbers that the momentum and enthusiasm is on the Democratic side. When an incumbent is unpopular, he takes people with him, and that's the concern now."

Democrats have also historically been better at securing small-dollar donations.

In the third quarter, ActBlue took in $1.5 billion in small-dollar donations, compared to $623.3 million raised by WinRed, the Republican fundraising platform.

Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, told CNN: "We are getting buried in an avalanche of blue money. The Democrats are able to raise millions overnight in $5 and $10 increments. We are going to need to rebuild our digital fundraising capabilities."

Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said last year that "campaigns are won on the strengths of their grassroots."

And a FiveThirtyEight analysis published in 2018 noted that in general, 90% of the candidates who spend the most on campaigning are the ones that win their races.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.