Katie Marina, Victor Reclatis
Democratic candidates mostly outnumber Republican opponents in key Senate race, but the opposite is true for key National Party committees
If Democrats manage to maintain control of the U.S. Senate in November’s midterm elections, it won’t be just about money — but their fundraising success will help.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report believes that in nine of 10 Senate races, Democratic candidates have the advantage in total fundraising.
As shown in the chart below, which relies on filings with the Federal Election Commission by the candidates’ primary campaign committees and their joint fundraising committees with political parties.
Some Democratic candidates in battleground states may have a fundraising advantage because they’re “incumbents who don’t need to jump through all the hurdles of running for office,” said Michael Beckel, director of research at Issue One, a campaign aimed at reducing large A nonpartisan watchdog group on the impact of money on politics.
Those Democrats may have an edge over their Republican opponents in terms of the fundraising machinery and visibility they’ve built, Becker said. In some other highly contested races, Republican incumbents are retiring — which could also incentivize Democratic donors, since winning vacant seats is often easier than knocking out incumbents, he said.
Of the 10 contested contests, 5 were Democratic incumbents (Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado), while only two involved Republican incumbents (Florida and Wisconsin), There are also 3 games without incumbent Republican senators (Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina).
The Supreme Court’s June Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established the constitutional right to abortion, a factor in this year’s fundraising.
A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 22% of Americans named abortion their top voting issue, up from 18% in July. Inflation was the number one concern, with 30% of respondents saying prices were high, but this was down from 37% in July.
Related: U.S. inflation picks up in August, CPI shows despite lower gasoline prices
“The issue of reproductive rights has inspired many Democratic voters and many Democratic donors,” Becker told MarketWatch. “Following this Supreme Court decision, there has been a very strong appeal for fundraising.”
Democratic campaigns “are trying to harness that energy and incentivize people to vote and open their wallets to give them more campaign money,” the issue one expert said.
To codify Roe into law, Democrats need 60 votes due to Senate rules, some of which could come from Republican senators who sometimes oppose their party. But Becker said that no matter how many seats Senate Democrats control, if they have a majority, they will be able to do more on abortion than if they have a minority.
Democrats currently run the Senate on a 50-50 vote, only because Vice President Kamala Harris has a run-off vote.
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While individual Democrats have significantly outpaced Republicans in the competitive Senate race, some key national Republican committees have fared better than their Democratic counterparts in attracting donations, as shown in the chart above.
Other GOP-linked players are stepping in to help Republican candidates, whether it’s billionaire Peter Thiel or One Nation, a so-called dark-money syndicate that doesn’t disclose its donors. That helps get funding from the main campaign committees and joint committees only part of the puzzle.
“One reality of the post-Citizens United world is that it’s getting harder and harder to track total spending because there are so many different vehicles with so many different reporting requirements,” Becker said, referring to a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission lifts ban on corporate political spending.
He pointed to a recent Wesleyan Media Project report relying on ad spending data to shed light on the battle for Senate control.
That Sept. 8 report said the top five advertisers on broadcast television over the past month were all Democratic Senate candidates, suggesting that these politicians have a lot of cash and that Republican Senate candidates “have been reliant on a national Republican Senate committee and a The state – a group organized as 501c – to support their broadcasting activities.”
Nominees for 10 closely contested Senate races have now been identified, as the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary was held on Tuesday with a retired Army brigadier general. General Don Borduc won. His top opponent, state Senate President Chuck Morse, tweeted earlier Wednesday that he had conceded to Borduk.
This is an updated version of the report first published on September 14, 2022.
– Katie Marina
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