Democratic Senate candidates smash fundraising records as Donald Trump’s cash flow slows

By Fredreka Schouten and David Wright, CNN

Democratic Senate candidates in key battleground states continue to rake in huge amounts of campaign money as the battle for control of the chamber escalates, according to new campaign finance reports .

New documents filed with the Federal Election Commission also show that former President Donald Trump’s political operation continues to squeeze millions of dollars from his army of supporters – albeit at a slower rate – as he is preparing a potential third offer for the White House.

And state-level reports show energetic donors driving large sums into high-level gubernatorial races.

Here is an overview of the main findings of the new campaign reports:

Democrats flooded with campaign money

Race after race, Democratic Senate candidates are upping their Republican rivals as they prepare for a tough fall election season – marred by runaway inflation and public dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden’s performance.

In Pennsylvania – where the race for an open Republican seat could determine which party controls the Senate – Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, raised nearly $11 million in the second quarter, which spanned the three months ended on June 30 – overwhelming his Republican Rival, famed heart surgeon Mehmet Oz.

Oz reported revenue of nearly $5.5 million in the quarter, but that included a total of $3.2 million which he lent to his campaign before and after the hard-fought May 17 Republican primary which he won after a recount.

And Fetterman had nearly $5.5 million remaining in the bank as of June 30 compared to Oz’s $1.1 million, deposited Friday night with the FEC show. (Oz’s ability to leverage his personal wealth in the coming months, however, could reduce Fetterman’s current cash advantage.)

Even so, Fetterman – largely sidelined on the campaign trail as he recovers from a stroke in May – has used his funds to advertise on television and support unorthodox efforts to target his opponent.

In Nevada, Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada raked in $7.5 million in the second quarter, compared to nearly $2.9 million for Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.

In Colorado, two-term Democratic Senator Michael Bennet started July with more than $8 million in stock, about 10 times the cash reserves of businessman Joe O’Dea, who emerged victorious. of the Republican primary at the end of June.

And two of the most threatened Democratic senators on the ballot this year — Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona — each sped up already blistering fundraising paces, bringing in $17.2 million and nearly $13 million, respectively. $6 million in the second quarter.

Warnock started July with over $22.2 million in cash reserves, more than three times the amount collected by his Republican rival, former NFL star Herschel Walker, according to the documents.

In Arizona, meanwhile, Kelly sat atop nearly $25 million on June 30 as Republicans vied to take him on in November heading to an August 2 primary in the United States. Grand Canyon State.

Surprise overvoltages

Even in states considered less competitive this fall, Democratic Senate candidates emerged from the second quarter with the financial advantage.

In red-leaning Ohio, for example, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan has raised $9.1 million through the end of June for his Senate bid, more than double the amount he’s raised in the past few years. first three months of the year. He had $3.6 million in cash remaining at the end of June.

JD Vance — who won the deadly Buckeye State Senate GOP primary in May, helped by super PAC spending and an endorsement from Trump — raised a fraction of that amount in the April-June window: around $1 million.

And the “Hillbilly Elegy” author ended the quarter with about $629,000 left in the bank and even more — nearly $883,000 — in debt.

“Democratic Senate battleground candidates are breaking fundraising records – and they’re fueled by energetic, grassroots supporters who are committed to protecting and expanding our Senate majority battling to meet priorities most urgent needs of working families,” Eli Cousin, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

Also helping to spur increased donations, the officers said: Voter alarm over last month’s US Supreme Court ruling that found there was no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion. A preliminary version of the notice was released in early May.

The day the ruling was handed down — June 24 — and the day after marked the two most important fundraising days of the election cycle for the DSCC, officials from the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm said.

For their part, Republicans say the fall election will always be about pocketbook issues, such as rising inflation.

“Even though the Democrats have all the money in the world, they’re on the wrong side of the issue,” said Jack Pandol, spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of the Kentucky.

“You see voters frustrated with high inflation, with crime and with an uncontrolled border,” he added. “All the money in the world is not going to change this dynamic.”

And outside Republican groups — such as the SLF and its nonprofit arm One Nation — will spend big to get that message out to voters. SLF ended June with more than $104 million in cash reserves, a record for the group.

Ad wars

The influx of money into key races allowed campaigns to air early and often.

Already, five major U.S. Senate races — in Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin — have seen more than $350 million in advertising through mid-July, data shows. AdImpact. And hundreds of millions more in advertising spend have been earmarked for the critical fall months.

Buoyed by strong fundraising, Warnock has been particularly active, spending more than $27 million on advertising this year, with a sustained ad campaign targeting the fitness of GOP opponent Walker and a mix of spots touting the holder’s work in Congress and his biography.

Republican groups such as One Nation hit back with their own attack ads, hammering Democrats on inflation and gas prices.

One Nation has spent more than $34 million on spots targeting vulnerable Democratic incumbents such as Warnock and Kelly, as well as Senator Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire. The group has also been active in Wisconsin supporting GOP Senator Ron Johnson’s re-election bid.

DeSantis builds huge war chest as Trump fundraising drops

Even as the political world focuses on midterms, Trump is weighing his own campaign to return to the White House.

Friday’s filing shows he raised $17 million through a joint fundraising committee in the April-June period. That’s down from the $19 million the committee raised in the first three months of the year. It comes as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential rival to become the GOP’s standard bearer in 2024, is building up a massive war chest for his re-election this fall.

As of July 1, CNN reported, DeSantis’ political committee and campaign reported combined cash reserves of $118 million. And that total doesn’t count more recent injections, like a $10 million check last week from a wealthy space contractor.

The governor’s political team has already identified ways to turn some of his massive war chest into money that could be spent on a federal campaign if he decides to run for president, a source with knowledge tells CNN. of these conversations.

In a statement late Friday, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich sought to push back against the idea of ​​weakening financial support for the former president. He said Trump was “continuing to build the most unprecedented political effort in the history of American politics.”

“Not only is he fundraising at an unprecedented rate,” Budowich added, “but he’s investing in America First candidates and continuing to grow the MAGA movement into 2022 and beyond.”

Trump’s Save America Joint Fundraising Committee distributes money to other parts of Trump’s operation, including the PAC leadership – dubbed Save America – which is the former president’s main political vehicle.

Save America PAC had $101 million remaining in its coffers at the end of May, according to its latest public filing. He will report on his June fundraising and spending later this month.

State fundraising

New state reports also indicate that gubernatorial races are being flooded with campaign money.

In traditionally red Texas, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign announced Friday that it raised $27.6 million between the end of February and June – a record sum for a state office.

The haul put the former congressman and former presidential candidate ahead of incumbent Republican, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who said he raised $24.9 million over the same period.

O’Rourke boasted of receiving more than 500,000 contributions online as he made state gun laws a key focus after the May mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

But Abbott, who is seeking a third term, should have a much larger pool of available cash to spend.

And in one of the high-profile midterm gubernatorial contests, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee in Georgia, took a substantial fundraising lead over incumbent GOP Governor Brian Kemp.

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CNN’s Steve Contorno contributed to this report.

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Post expires at 2:36am on Friday July 22nd, 2022