Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018

Vulnerable Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 continued their strong fundraising rate in the second quarter of 2017, according to early looks at figures released by their Senate campaigns.

Republicans see the upcoming midterm elections as a prime opportunity to expand their party’s majority in the Senate, thanks to a favorable set of races on the midterm ballot.

Democrats have to defend 10 seats won by President Trump in November, with five of those in states Trump won by at least 20 points. The GOP, on the other hand, has to defend just two tough seats in Arizona and Nevada.

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All Senate fundraising reports are due by Saturday. But early figures from the Senate campaigns show that vulnerable incumbents on both sides of the aisle are stockpiling some serious cash to defend their seats next year.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (D) raised the most of any vulnerable senator in the second fundraising quarter. Her campaign announced that she raised $3.1 million, bringing her total cash on hand to $5.1 million.

That isn’t the only piece of good news McCaskill received this month. Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner (R), one of the top likely candidates to take on McCaskill, announced last week that she would not seek a Senate bid.

Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition tech | FBI warns hackers are targeting mobile banking apps Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE (D-Ohio) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick Casey21 senators urge Pentagon against military use to curb nationwide protests Overnight Health Care: Trump says US ‘terminating’ relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (D-Pa.) tied for the second-highest totals among vulnerable Democratic members, both raising $2.6 million. Brown now has $6.7 million in the bank, while Casey has $5.5 million.

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Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden launches program to turn out LGBTQ vote We need a ‘9-1-1’ for mental health — we need ‘9-8-8’ Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump’s power under Insurrection Act MORE (D-Wis.) isn’t far behind, with $2.5 million raised over the past three months and $3.9 million in the bank. Following her are Sens. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (D-Fla.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSheldon Whitehouse leads Democrats into battle against Trump judiciary Bill aims to help farmers sell carbon credits Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks MORE (D-Mich.), who each raised $2.1 million. Nelson has $5.1 million on hand, while Stabenow has $5.8 million in the bank, according to the Detroit News.

Montana Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate confirms Trump’s watchdog for coronavirus funds Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (D) raised $2 million and has $4.7 million banked away.

Rounding out the Democratic senators, Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.) raised $1.5 million with $3.7 million on hand, while Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects Shelley Moore Capito wins Senate primary West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wins GOP gubernatorial primary MORE (W.Va.) raised $1.4 million with $3.5 million on hand and Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (N.D.) raised $1.3 million.

Heitkamp, who still has not confirmed whether she’ll run for another term, has $3 million in the bank.

The strong numbers are good news for Democrats, as many of the incumbents will be facing tough reelection battles.

There are far fewer vulnerable GOP incumbents on the ballot.

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.), seen by most analysts as the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection, raised $1.4 million in the second quarter to bring him to $3.5 million in the bank, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. While Heller’s fundraising figure stands at the bottom of the pack for the vulnerable incumbents, the steady fundraising and strong war chest could help ward off any potential primary opponents.

He’s drawn at least one Democratic opponent — Rep. Jacky Rosen (Nev.), who hasn’t yet announced her fundraising. Frequent candidate Danny Tarkanian is mulling a primary challenge to the right of Heller.

Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE, the other vulnerable Republican incumbent, raised $1.5 million and has $3 million in the bank. Despite being one of the few seats where Democrats can challenge an incumbent, top Democratic recruits remain on the sidelines.

Most of the candidates looking to challenge these incumbents had not yet released their fundraising hauls, as they have until the weekend to finalize their results. Since Senate candidate disclosures are filed on paper and need to be scanned into the online system, it could be days after the deadline before the entire snapshot is clear.

In a crowded GOP field for candidates looking to face Casey in Pennsylvania, real estate executive Jeff Bartos reportedly raised $1 million. Most of the Republican candidates have yet to post their fundraising numbers, but this puts Bartos miles ahead of state Rep. Rick Saccone, who raised only $15,000 and has $30,000 on hand.

At least half a dozen Republicans have filed to unseat Casey, with the potential for more challengers to announce in the coming months. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who’s weighing a Senate run, raised $370,000 and has $1.1 million cash on hand.

Lena Epstein, who was co-chair of Trump’s campaign in Michigan, brought in $460,000 since announcing her Senate bid against Stabenow in late May. She has more than $455,000 cash on hand. Epstein’s primary foe, former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young, hasn’t released his numbers either.

In Indiana, GOP Rep. Todd Rokita, who has publicly toyed with a bid, raised $1 million in the second quarter to bring his cash on hand to $2.3 million. Rokita hasn’t announced a decision on whether he’ll jump in, but the big quarter could send a message to fellow GOP Rep. Luke Messer, who is also considering a bid. A source close to Messer told The Hill he’s expecting to report around $600,000 raised this past quarter. 

And in deep red Texas, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke made a big splash, raising $2.1 million to take on Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R). That’s an impressive haul, but he faces a steep climb against Cruz — no Democratic politician has won statewide since 1994.

 

–This post was updated on July 14. 

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