Senate Democrats raise money furiously to defend majority

Warnock, Kelly exceed $10 million as Hassan, Cortez Masto top $4 million

Democratic Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds a baby during a rally at the UFCW Local 1776 KS headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds a baby during a rally at the UFCW Local 1776 KS headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 18, 2022 at 5:29pm

Senate Democrats built up their war chests this quarter, including candidates who don’t face primary challengers but will contend in some of the most closely watched elections in November. 

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock raised $13.6 million, bringing his cash on hand to $25.6 million. That’s more than double the $5.2 million raised by Herschel Walker, the former football player running in Georgia’s Republican primary. Walker leads the state’s GOP field in fundraising but also faces four other candidates who all raised less than him. 

In Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly raised $11.4 million to bring his cash on hand to $23.3 million. 

The highest fundraiser in the GOP primary to take him on, Jim Lamon, a former Army officer and businessman, reported having $7.2 million on hand, including a $5 million loan to his campaign. Venture capitalist Blake Masters raised $1.2 million and had $2.3 million on hand. Major General Michael McGuire raised $1.1 million, including a $750,000 loan for $994,000 in cash on hand, while state Attorney General Mark Brnovich raised $736,000 and had $529,000 on hand. Justin Olson raised $50,000, including a $17,000 loan and had $144,000 on hand. 

With Democrats controlling a 50-50 Senate only because of Vice President Kamala Harris' power to break ties, the loss of one seat in November would give the GOP the majority.

In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto raised $4.4 million to bring her cash on hand to $11.1 million. 

Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt reported raising $1.6 million to bring his total on hand to $2.2 million. Former Army ranger Sam Brown raised $1.2 million and had $680,000 on hand. 

And in New Hampshire, Sen. Maggie Hassan outraised her potential Republican opponents, with $4.3 million in receipts bringing her total cash on hand to $7.6 million. State Senate President Chuck Morse, the top Republican fundraiser, brought in $750,000 and had $672,000 on hand. Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc raised $105,000 and had $82,000 on hand, while former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith raised $409,000 and had $312,000 on hand.

But Republican incumbents also reported strong quarters. 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio raised $5.8 million, bringing his cash on hand to $13.1 million. Democratic Rep. Val Demmings, the favorite to challenge Rubio, raised $10.1 million and had $13.2 million in cash on hand. 

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson raised $5.9 million and had $3.6 million on hand, which is more than his potential Democratic opponents have in the bank and a significant increase over his fundraising efforts in the last quarter of 2021, when he reported just over $700,000 in receipts. 

Among the Democrats vying to challenge Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry raised $3.9 million, including a personal loan to his campaign of $3.5 million, and he had $997,000 on hand. Sarah Godlewski, the state treasurer, raised $2.1 million, including a personal loan of $1.5 million, and had $1.6 million on hand. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes raised $1.7 million and also had $1.6 million on hand, while Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson raised $224,000 and had $550,000 on hand. 

“We’re seeing tremendous enthusiasm across the country to take back the Senate,” said Jack Pandol, communications director for the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’re seeing that reflected in many Republican candidates’ fundraising reports from this quarter, and it will give them the ability to litigate the records of Democratic candidates and hold them accountable for their votes and stances enabling Joe Biden’s disastrous policies.”

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski outraised her primary challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, raising $1.6 million to her $673,000. Murkowski had $5.3 million in the bank, while Tshibaka, endorsed by Trump, had $968,000 in cash on hand. Elvi Gray-Jackson, a Democrat, raised $144,000 in the first quarter. 

Democrats argue that their opponents face more bruising primaires than their candidates, which could hurt Republicans ahead of the general election. 

“While Republicans’ flawed candidates attack each other in brutal, expensive primaries, Senate Democrats’ record-setting fundraising demonstrates the strong grassroots support behind our campaigns – and the enthusiasm for Democrats' work to cut costs for working families and fight back against the GOP agenda of higher taxes, higher health care costs, and an end to Medicare and Social Security,” said Eli Cousin, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Open seats competitive

Donors and some of the candidates put up millions for the pursuit of open seats caused by the retirements of Republican senators in Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Ahead of the Pennsylvania Senate primary next month, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman outraised the Democratic field and had almost double the amount in the bank as Rep. Conor Lamb. Fetterman had $4.2 million cash on hand to Lamb’s $2.2 million. State Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta had $271,000 in the bank. Last quarter, Fetterman raised $3.1 million, while Lamb raised $1.8 million and Kenyatta raised $306,000.

On the Republican side, hedge fund executive Dave McCormick and former television show host Mehmet Oz both donated to their campaigns. McCormick reported loaning $7 million to his campaign, bringing his total raised to $11.3 million and leaving him $1.8 million on hand on March 31. Oz loaned $5.9 million to his campaign, which helped bring his total raised to $7.6 million and left him with $2.6 million on hand. 

In North Carolina, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, raised $3.7 million, bringing her cash on hand to $5.1 million. The Republican primary in the Tar Heel State is expected to be more competitive. Rep. Ted Budd raised $1.1 million, bringing his cash on hand to $1.9 million, while former Gov. Pat McCrory also raised $1.1 million and had $2.2 million on hand ahead of the May 17 primary. Former Rep. Mark Walker raised $105,000, while Marjorie Eastman raised $372,000, which included a $160,000 loan. 

Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, the favorite for the Senate nomination, raised $4.1 million and has $6.5 million on hand. The state’s Republican field is more crowded. J.D. Vance, who Trump endorsed last week, raised $918,000, including a $600,000 loan, to bring his cash on hand to $1.6 million. Michael Gibbons raised $5.3 million, including a $5 million loan and a personal contribution of $150,000 on top of that. He ended the quarter with $3.3 million on hand. Jane Timken raised $809,000 and had $1.5 million on hand, while Josh Mandel raised $519,000 and had $2.8 million on hand. 

In Alabama, businessman and Army veteran Mike Durant raised $2.9 million, including a $2.7 million personal loan, and had $4.1 million on hand. Former Senate chief of staff Katie Britt raised $1.4 million and had $3.2 million on hand. Rep. Mo Brooks, who was endorsed by Trump before the former president rescinded the endorsement last month, raised $564,000 and had $1.6 million on hand. 

In Missouri, where there’s a competitive Republican primary, state Sen. Dave Schatz raised $1.1 million with a $1 million loan and had $2.1 million on hand. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who has faced domestic violence accusations, raised $379,000 with a $30,000 loan and had $345,000 on hand. Rep. Vicky Hartzler raised $497,000 and had $1.5 million on hand, while fellow Rep. Billy Long raised $216,000 and had $500,000 on hand. Eric Schmitt, the state attorney general, raised $481,000 and had $1.3 million on hand.

On the Democratic side, Lucas Kunce raised $851,000 and had $942,000 on hand. Scott Sifton dropped out of the race and endorsed beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine, but reported having raised $124,000 this quarter. Busch Valentine raised $894 between March 23 and the end of the month.

Stephanie Akin contributed to this report.