Political News

Democratic House candidates dominate second quarter fundraising

Posted July 17, 2018 9:20 a.m. EDT

— Democratic House candidates dominated fundraising in the second quarter of 2018, a sign of enthusiasm among Democrats heading into November's midterm elections.

In 72 of 95 of CNN's key House races, the leading Democrat outraised the leading Republican, including at least 40 Republican incumbents.

Of 21 races CNN rated as "toss up," the most competitive designation, Democrats held the fundraising edge in 17 contests.

Democrats also had the advantage among races considered more favorable to Republicans, leading 18 of 24 races rated "lean Republican" and 17 of 28 races rated "likely Republican." And Democrats led 20 of 22 races rated "lean Democrat" or "likely Democrat."

Even Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is tasked with preserving the GOP's House majority, was narrowly outraised by his Democratic challenger Rick Neal. Stivers still has a prohibitive advantage in cash banked and his race in Ohio's 15th District is rated by CNN as solid Republican.

Many Republicans faced significant second quarter fundraising deficits in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In California in particular, after a slate of competitive primaries in early June, a wave of newly minted Democratic nominees consolidated resources and appear to pose a formidable threat to multiple GOP incumbents.

Republican Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) saw his second quarter haul nearly tripled by Democratic challenger Katie Hill. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48) was outraised nearly 5-to-1 by Democrat Harley Rouda. And Democrat Josh Harder took in nearly half a million more than Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10). Still, Knight and Denham maintained considerable advantages in cash-on-hand, while Rohrabacher and Rouda emerged almost tied.

It's a similar story in Texas, where Republican Reps. John Culberson (TX-07), Will Hurd (TX-23), Pete Sessions (TX-32) and John Carter (TX-31) were all outraised by their leading Democratic challenger, though each incumbent still had more banked at the end of the quarter. Democrat MJ Hegar, who emerged from a May run-off to face Rep. Carter, posted one of the strongest fundraising hauls of the period on the heels of a viral biographical video, raising $1.17 million compared to just over $266,000 for Rep. Carter.

Hegar was one of 20 non-incumbent Democrats in CNN's key races that raised over $1 million for their House bids in the second quarter alone. Among the other top Democratic fundraisers: Amy McGrath in KY-06, who raised over $1.2 million; Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23, who raised over $1.2 million; Mikie Sherrill in NJ-11, who took in over $1.8 million; Katie Hill, who raised $1.3 million; Jason Crow in CO-06, who took in over $1 million; Tom Malinowski in NJ-07, who raised over $1.3 million; and Randy Bryce, running for retiring Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in WI-01, who raised over $1.2 million.

Two other high-profile Republican incumbents facing tough re-elections -- Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) -- edged their leading Democratic challenger in second quarter fundraising.

And most Republican incumbents retained the advantage in money banked for the rest of the cycle despite large gains made by their Democratic opponents.

However, GOP Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-08), who saw his second quarter haul more than doubled by Elissa Slotkin, fell further behind in cash on hand. And Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) now trails Malinowski by nearly half a million in the bank after his Democratic challenger's big quarter.

Lance was one of a few New Jersey Republicans who saw their Democratic challenger post strong second quarter fundraising totals. In NJ-03, Democrat Andy Kim nearly doubled Rep. Tom MacArthur's haul and even took a lead in cash on hand of nearly half a million dollars. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) -- a first-term Democratic incumbent in a race rated "likely Democrat" -- outraised his Republican challenger by nearly 6-to-1, and has over $4.5 million banked.

In Utah's 4th District, incumbent GOP Rep. Mia Love reversed the trend, posting a strong second quarter with over $1 million raised, though she narrowly trails her Democratic challenger, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, in cash on hand.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee celebrated the second quarter fundraising totals in a release Tuesday, saying over 70 Democratic challengers had outraised their Republican opponent in the second quarter (including races rated as uncompetitive by CNN).

"Democrats have the infrastructure and message to capitalize on a historic surge of grassroots energy by raising record amounts from small-dollar, online contributions. There's no question that Democrats are charging into the general elections with all the momentum, said DCCC spokesperson Tyler Law.

The NRCC spoke to their candidates' significant cash advantages in a statement. "Democrats in moderate, competitive districts have spent the majority of their money highlighting their progressive bona fides. Meanwhile, Republicans have continued to pad their campaign coffers and are well positioned to execute effective campaigns this fall," said NRCC national press secretary Jesse Hunt.