Skip to content

House GOP Freshmen Show Fundraising Strength

House Republican freshmen dominated their Democratic counterparts in first-quarter fundraising, pulling in more than twice the funds on average.

The GOP freshmen easily took the lead in total fundraising thanks to the size of their class: The 82 Republicans took in $14.7 million in the first three months of 2011 to the nine Democrats’ $774,000, according to a CQ MoneyLine study.

But it’s the per capita breakdown that reveals their advantage. On average each GOP freshman raised more than $179,000, compared with the $86,000 raised on average by each of the nine Democrats.

Rep. Diane Black led the way among the freshmen with $926,000. That amount also ranked her fourth among all House Members and topped the fundraising of all House Democrats.

But the Tennessee Republican had herself to thank for much of the funds. She gave her campaign almost $668,000 from her personal finances and raised $258,000 from individuals and political action committees to get a head start on her 2012 re-election bid. 

Black’s self-donation was atypical among other GOP House freshmen who raised significant funds, which generally came from PACs and individual donors. The No. 2 fundraiser in the class of 2010, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), stayed in campaign mode after his narrow victory in November and took in $540,000 in the first quarter.

“For us, it’s been a lot of people that are enthusiastic about the new leadership,” said McKinley’s chief of staff, Andy Sere. “People are also aware that this new majority is going to be challenged. … The [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and others are going to be after those freshman seats in 2012.”

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) captured the No. 3 spot with $457,000, mostly from individual contributions, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) ranked fourth with almost $410,000 raised from PACs, candidates and individuals.

The GOP’s freshman class closely trailed party veterans in fundraising, averaging just $300 less than colleagues who were in at least their second term. The $14.7 million from the GOP freshmen also helped House Republicans outraise Democrats by $18 million during the quarter.

Many Republican freshmen socked away large portions of their early receipts for the 2012 election, totaling more than $12.9 million in cash on hand as of the end of March.