Plus, Top 10 Senate Races Raised $245 Million in the First Three Months of 2018
The runup to the mid-term elections is breaking all sorts of records. But in the Age of Trump, we are seeing a call to activism like never before. That’s extending to people running for office. To date, nearly 2,500 people have declared candidacy for Congressional and Senate seats – more than in the past three election cycles. That’s a lot of people vying for 470 seats up for grabs come November.
So far, 2,192 have announced their intention to run for a Congressional seat and 286 have filed to run for Senate seats. Democrats make up the greatest portion of declared candidacies with 49.5%, compared to Republicans at 38.8% and independent or third-party candidates representing 11.7%. This compares to a total of 2,263 candidates who ran for Congress in 2016; 2,142 in 2014 and 2,412 in 2012, according to Ballotpedia.
As for official party fundraising efforts, the Republicans know this is a critical election year. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has raised almost double what the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has raised by the end of the first quarter, at just over $39 million. The DNC had raised just over $22 million in the same period, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The RNC reported having just under $43 million in cash on hand with no debts owed compared to the DNC which had $9 million in cash on hand with more than $6 million in debts owed.
But this does not paint the whole picture of fundraising efforts. As mentioned, this reflects the official party fundraising efforts. When looking across the national map at the races and the individual candidates’ abilities to raise money, the trends show Democrats outraising Republicans.
Most Expensive Senate Races Across Country
The top 10 senate races across the country raised a staggering $245 million in the first quarter of 2018.
Massachusetts: Leading the pack is the race for the Massachusetts seat held by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), where a total of $38.6 million was raised in the first three months of the year. Warren, who raised $26.9 million, faces a pool of seven Republican candidates and two Independents led in fundraising efforts by John Kingston (R) with $4.9 million at the end of the first quarter.
Texas: The race is second on the list with $32.7 million raised through March. Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leads with $19.3 million followed by Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) with $13.2 million.
Ohio: Ohio is right behind Texas in fundraising efforts with $32.6 million raised. Incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) has raised $20.3 million. Brown faces a pool of 7 Republican challengers led in fundraising by Jim Renacci with $4.4 million. Ohio has its state-wide primary on May 8.
Michigan: The race raised a total of $22 million in the first three months with incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) accounting for $13 million of that. There are five republican candidates and two libertarian candidates vying for her seat. The top challenger based on fundraising is Sandy Pensler (R) with $5 million.
Missouri: The race, which is supposed to be competitive this year, had raised just under $22 million in the first quarter. Incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) raised $17.5 million of that total. She faces five Republican candidates, one Independent, one Libertarian and a Democratic challenger. The only challenger who managed to raise money in the millions in the first quarter was Josh Hawley (R) with $3.3 million.
Indiana: The contest was sixth on the list with $21.8 million. With a primary May 8, incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D), who raised $9.8 million, will know who he’s facing in November. Though there is a Democratic challenger on the ticket, Martin Del Rio. This is a hot race to watch with eight Republican candidates and two Independents. Leading fundraising efforts for the first quarter for Republican candidates was Mike Braun with $5.8 million. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita are other Republican candidates to watch in next week’s primary.
Wisconsin: The candidates raised $20.7 million in the first quarter with incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) raising the lion’s share of $17.2 million. There are four Republican candidates with the top two close in fundraising efforts but led by Kevin Nicholson with $2.3 million.
Pennsylvania: The race was close behind Wisconsin with $20 million raised. Again, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D) accounted for most of that amount with $16.1 million raised. There are two Republicans and one Libertarian in the race. Republican challenger Lou Barletta raised $2.8 million.
California: The nation’s largest state is next to last on the list of the top 10 most expensive Senate races in the country. This one is for the seat held by incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). By the end of March, Feinstein had raised $14.2 million. She faces nine Democratic challengers, as well as 10 Republican, eight Independent and a Libertarian and third-party candidate. Though the California Democratic Party has refused to endorse Feinstein for re-election, it has not stopped the five-term Senator from moving forward. Her closest challengers in fundraising efforts are Rocky de la Fuente (R) and Kevin de León (D), both at about $1 million after the first quarter. California’s unique primary system sends the top two candidates, regardless of party, to the general election.
New York: Last of the Top 10, the Empire State ’s race for the seat of incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D). At the end of March, a total of $17.2 million had been raised with Gillibrand pulling in $16.7 million of that total. Republican challenger Chele Farley had raised half a million dollars.
Polls Show Deep-Red Tennessee Senate Seat in Play
New polls show that the Senate race to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is retiring, may be more competitive than originally thought in this red state. The favored candidate in a pool of Republicans is Rep. Marsha Blackburn. She’ll face off against former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D).
Last week, a poll by the Washington Examiner had Bredesen leading Blackburn by three points, 46% to 43% in a two-way race. Trump took Tennessee with 61% of the vote in 2016. Another survey from last month had Bredesen with a 10-point lead. And RealClearPolitics had Bredesen with a five-point advantage over Blackburn, according to a recent Vox article.
We’ll see what happens when the GOP throws its money behind Blackburn and the candidates hit the campaign trail. But this is definitely a race worth watching.
Featured image: In Colorado, Saira Rao is seeking the Democratic nomination for the state’s First Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Diana DeGette, also a Democrat. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)