Targeted House Republicans Call on Colleagues for Financial Help

Posted October 31, 2008 at 9:50am

O brother, where art thou?

That’s what some endangered House Republicans are asking as they seek last-minute financial help from their peers.

Along with several of his Republican colleagues who would normally cruise to re-election, Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) is being forced to fend off a late-surging Democratic challenger.

Brown is one of about a half-dozen GOP incumbents in tighter-than-expected contests who have been making fundraising calls to their colleagues recently in an effort to shake loose precious campaign cash for last-minute TV advertising.

Fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Brown and his colleagues have had mixed success.

Through mid-Thursday, FEC records show that Brown raised $21,300 during the previous week for his unexpected battle with wealthy Food Lion heiress Linda Ketner (D), whose six-figure checks to her campaign have loosened the incumbent’s moorings in the final weeks of the campaign.

But of his one-week take, Brown received only one check from a House colleague: $2,000 from Rep. Jeb Henserling (R-Texas).

Although passed over by his pals on the Hill, Brown has had some luck passing the collection plate on K Street in the past week, gathering at least $13,500 in checks from the political arms of Honeywell International, the Nuclear Energy Institute and other trade groups.

Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) is another suddenly endangered lawmaker who has been calling his colleagues, though his peers had given the Old Dominion lawmaker just $2,000 in the past week. Goode, who’s facing a closer-than-expected challenge from attorney Tom Perriello (D), has fared better with trade groups, which have turned over more than $12,000 to his campaign in the past week.

As of Oct. 15, Goode had about $700,000 in cash, while Perriello — who’s outraised the incumbent this cycle — had roughly $100,000. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee through Thursday had spent nearly $650,000 battering Goode.

Another target of the DCCC, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.) has also been reaching out to fellow House GOPers for financial help. In the past week, she had raised just $7,000 from her colleagues for her nail-biter with ex-foreign service officer Glenn Nye (D), who had $269,000 in cash on Oct. 15.

As of Thursday, the DCCC had spent more than $1.2 million in Drake’s district.

Like Goode, Drake, who was sitting on $510,000 in cash as of two weeks ago, also appears to be having more luck downtown than with her colleagues.

Through mid-Thursday, Drake had raised $12,000 from trade groups and political action committees, some of whom say they are accustomed to October pleas from frantic lawmakers who find themselves in a bind.

“This happens every time. As you get down to the final days people will call and say, ‘Hey, my race is tightening. Can you help me out?’” a source from a prominent business group said. “But we haven’t seen any activity out of the ordinary.”

But not every GOP lawmaker scrounging for last-minute cash is singing the blues.

Houston Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), who found himself in mid-October with a race — and no money — had raised roughly $80,000 during the past week, about a quarter of which came from GOP House Members.

Culberson, who’s raised about $1.5 million for the cycle, had $220,000 in cash leftover as of two weeks ago, hardly enough to fend off energy executive Michael Skelly’s (D) impressive $2.8 million haul in an expensive media market.