Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Rep. Joe Sestak raised $3.3 million in the third quarter and reported $2.7 million in the bank as of Sept. 30, according to the final fundraising figures to be released before Election Day.
The updated numbers, disclosed Friday afternoon, give the Democrat a slight cash advantage over his Republican opponent, former Rep. Pat Toomey, who had $2.3 million on hand after raising $3.8 million in the last quarter.
The Pennsylvania contest has also drawn millions in outside spending, which benefits Toomey more.
“The bottom line is that this is an election, not an auction, and Congressman Toomey is out of touch with Pennsylvania,” Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin said. “We are confident that we will have the resources necessary to get our message out and that on Nov. 2 voters will understand that Joe is the only one in the race that will fight for Pennsylvania.”
While a Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday showed Toomey with a 10-point edge, internal polling released this week from both camps showed a closer race. Republican polling indicates a lead of 4 to 6 points, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s internal poll showed Sestak ahead by a statistically insignificant 2 points.
“I think that despite what people want to say about internal polls, the public polls have shown we have an advantage in this race,” Toomey spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said. She dismissed Sestak’s narrow cash advantage.
“We’ve outraised Congressman Sestak every single quarter by a massive amount. … There are so many things that we have going for us in this race.”
Conservative groups excluding the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent roughly $4.5 million on the race so far, compared with less than $600,000 from liberal groups.
“Obviously we don’t have anything to do with the other groups,” Soloveichik said. “Sestak has had the DSCC in Pennsylvania since August.”
Indeed, the DSCC has spent more than $4.7 million on independent expenditures in the Keystone State since the primary. The NRSC has spent just more than $600,000 so far but has plans to spend another $3.4 million in the coming weeks.