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Latest reports show more money surging against GOP in Senate battleground races

11 challengers raised a combined $70 million to incumbents’ $31 million

Whether they are betting on a party takeover or just fired up by the rushed confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, campaign contributors showered Democratic challengers in competitive Senate races with cash during the first two weeks of October, the final disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission show.

Senate Democratic challengers in each of the 11 Senate races rated as competitive by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales all raised more than the incumbents. Combined, they collected $70.3 million from Oct. 1-14, to GOP incumbents’ $30.7 million.

Democrats defending two competitive seats also bested their opponents in fundraising, and the Democrat running for an open seat in Kansas raised $7.76 for every $1 raised by her opponent, an incumbent House member.

Democrats need to win a net four seats to take the majority in the Senate, or three seats if they win the White House, since the vice president breaks ties.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers:

  • Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who trailed GOP challenger John James in fundraising for much of the year, took in $7.4 million to James’ $3.3 million. The other vulnerable Democrat, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, raised $1.8 million to GOP challenger Tommy Tuberville’s $713,000.
  • While Peters averaged more than $500,000 a day, South Carolina Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison continued to shatter records, raising $22.1 million, or almost $1.6 million a day. Harrison’s total includes more than $12 million raised in amounts of $200 or less.
  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s lament on Fox News and elsewhere that challenger Harrison would raise more than $100 million against him has proved correct. For the cycle, Harrison raised almost $109 million to Graham’s $68 million. Graham, who chaired Judiciary Committee hearings that began Oct. 12 on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, reported raising $9 million during the two-week period, but his campaign later issued a statement saying the correct figure was $14.8 million. The discrepancy was blamed on “the limited importation speed of our compliance software” which resulted in “more than 100,000 additional donations made online” not being included in the report.
  • In the Georgia special Senate election, where numerous candidates — including appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler — are running, Democrats Matthew Lieberman and Edward Tarver raised just $11,000 and $10,000 respectively, while Democratic frontrunner, Raphael Warnock, raised $4.7.million.
  • For the two Republicans in the Georgia special, Loeffler raised $3.5 million, while Rep. Doug Collins raised $252,000. A candidate in the special must get more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 3 or the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff in January.
  • Georgia’s other senator, Republican David Perdue, raised $1 million to challenger Jon Ossoff’s $4.2 million.
  • Alaska independent Al Gross, who plans to caucus with Democrats if elected, continued to raise healthy amounts, collecting $3 million to incumbent GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan’s $456,000. For the cycle, Gross has raised $16.9 million to Sullivan’s $9.8 million.
  • Iowa Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield bested GOP Sen. Joni Ernst by more than 3-to-1, raising $7.2 million to Ernst’s $1.9 million. 
  • A similar theme played out in Maine, where challenger Sara Gideon raised $5.9 million to GOP Sen. Susan Collins’ $1.9 million.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock outraised GOP Sen. Steve Daines by more than 2-to-1, collecting $5.3 million to Daines’ $2.6 million.
  • Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn raised $1.3 million to challenger MJ Hegar’s $3.7 million.
  • Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner raised $1.5 million to former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s $3 million.
  • Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally raised just under $6 million to challenger Mark Kelly’s $7 million. Whoever wins the race would have to run again in two years because the battle is for the unexpired portion of the late Sen. John McCain’s term, and Kelly had $11 million on Oct. 14 to McSally’s $9 million.   
  • In Kansas, where there’s an open seat, Democrat Barbara Bollier’s $3.8 million haul was almost 8 times that of Rep. Roger Marshall. For the cycle, Bollier raised $24.4 million through Oct. 14 to Marshall’s $6 million, and part of Marshall’s total was spent on a competitive primary.
  • A scandal over extramarital sexting did not seem to derail North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham’s fundraising against GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, with Cunningham raising $4.1 million to Tillis’ $1.5 million.
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