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House GOP well funded for ’24, but Schiff censure opens cash spigot

Small-dollar donors also gave $1.7 million to Boebert opponent

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff's campaign for California's open seat in the Senate raised more than $4 million in the second quarter, when House Republicans voted to censure him for comments about former President Donald Trump.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff's campaign for California's open seat in the Senate raised more than $4 million in the second quarter, when House Republicans voted to censure him for comments about former President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted New York Rep. George Santos aside, House Republicans facing competitive races next year had a better spring fundraising than Democratic colleagues in similar positions, new disclosures show.

But the House GOP’s vote last month to censure Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff in June also may have done him a big favor in his bid for California Senate, a race that is sure to be one of the year’s most expensive even though it won’t likely affect the party balance in Congress.

Vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the Senate, meanwhile, continued to build warchests, some as they waited for Republicans to pick or even find a candidate. The Senate Democrat with the biggest bankroll, however, may run for president instead.

The new data cover reports filed over the weekend to the Federal Election Commission spanning the three months ending June 30. To be sure, the spate of candidates in battleground races who didn’t announce they were running until after July 1 is a sign the 2024 picture is still coming into focus. But here are five takeaways on what the latest data show.

Targets prepped

Democrats need to pick up a net of five seats next year to take control of the House, and the party’s campaign committee has already put targets on 33 districts, including seven in California and five in New York. 

But most of those targeted members got to Congress by winning tough races, and being in the majority seems to have made it easier to tap donors. 

In the 33 Republican-held districts rated as competitive by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, three incumbents — Michelle Steel and Young Kim of California and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania — raised more than $1 million during the quarter.

Twenty of the 33 had more than $1 million in their campaign accounts on June 30, led by Fitzpatrick and Wisconsin Rep. Bryan Steil, who each had nearly $2.9 million.

By comparison, just five of the 30 Democratic incumbents in districts with competitive Inside Elections ratings — Pat Ryan of New York; Abigail Spanberger of Virginia; Angie Craig of Minnesota; and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Kim Schrier of Washington — had more than $1 million in cash on hand. None raised more than $1 million in the quarter, with Craig posting the biggest quarterly haul, $840,000.

Put another way: The average Republican incumbent in a competitive seat raised $715,000 and had $1.2 million in cash; the average Democrat in that situation raised $465,000 and had $714,000, a CQ Roll Call analysis found. 

For the average member of each group, PACs favored Republicans $222,000 to $161,000. But the GOP also had the advantage, by $68,000 to $43,000, in average donations from so-called small donors, those giving $200 or less. 

Dollars and censure

When it comes to small donors, however, no one came close to the tally posted by Schiff, who reported taking in nearly $4.4 million in amounts under $200 for his Senate bid. Candidates do not have to reveal details for such donations, but Schiff’s campaign reported a surge after the House voted last month to censure him over his role as chairman of the Intelligence Committee and investigator of then-President Donald Trump during Trump’s first impeachment. Democrats on the floor rallied around Schiff after the vote, shouting “shame” and “disgrace” at their GOP colleagues.

Schiff is running in a crowded field that includes fellow Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee

Porter notched the second-highest haul of small-dollar donations among House and Senate candidates in competitive races, taking in $2 million, which was part of a $3.2 million total. But Schiff’s total receipts for the quarter were $8.3 million. He had $29.8 million in his account on June 30, to Porter’s $10.4 million, Lee’s $1.4 million and $625,000 for tech executive Lexi Reese.

Lightning rods fizzle?

The Republican who sponsored the censure resolution, Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, raised $355,000 during the quarter — the second-lowest amount for a GOP battleground member. Luna’s seat is targeted, but no Democrat reported raising any money to run against her, according to the FEC. Inside Elections rates the race Likely Republican.

The same week as Luna’s censure vote, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert sought to bring up impeachment articles against President Joe Biden, but the measure was sent to two committees for investigation. Boebert won her seat in 2022 by 546 votes, the narrowest margin in the midterm elections, and Democrat Adam Frisch is aggressively raising money for a rematch.

In the second quarter, Boebert raised $818,000, but Frisch took in $2.6 million. That included $1.7 million from donors giving under $200 and placed him third on that list of battleground candidates behind Schiff and Porter. On June 30, Frisch had $2.5 million to Boebert’s $1.4 million.

Boebert is in better shape, however, than Santos, the freshman New York Republican facing a 13-count indictment and a widening investigation by the House Ethics Committee. That’s because Santos not only raised less money ($162,000) during the quarter than three Democrats vying to challenge him; he was also out-raised by a Republican seeking to deny him another nomination. Santos has resisted calls to resign and insists he’s running for another term, but he finished the quarter with just $81,000 in his account after using $85,000 — or more than half of what he raised from April through June — to repay himself for money he said he loaned to his 2022 campaign. 

Santos took in $363 from small-dollar donors. But a part-time cashier and two who list their occupations as student each gave the maximum $3,300 for the primary, and a masseur in Texas gave $6,600, the maximum for the primary and the general election.

Senate stashes

Two senators who help give Democrats their 51-49 operating majority had some of the biggest campaign bankrolls at the end of the quarter, but they haven’t said they’re running for reelection and could use the money to run against the party’s pick in a high-stakes race.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, who is seen as the Democrats’ best chance to hold his West Virginia Senate seat and had $10.8 million at the end of the quarter, could end up running on a presidential ticket against Biden and Trump. Manchin is a featured speaker Monday at a town hall in New Hampshire organized by No Labels, a group raising money to try to get a third-party ticket on the ballot in all 50 states. Even without saying what he will run for, Manchin raised $1.3 million during the quarter.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also had $10.8 million, after raising $1.7 million. Sinema changed her party affiliation from Democrat to independent but continues to get her committee assignments from the Democrats. Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego raised $3.1 million during the quarter for his bid to succeed her, and had $3.8 million in cash on hand.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the one Republican in a race rated as Battleground by Inside Elections, had less cash, $4.8 million, on June 30 than the $5.7 million held by Rep. Colin Allred, a Democrat vying to challenge him. Allred posted total receipts of $8.8 million for the quarter, which includes $2.5 million transferred from other committees. Nearly half of the $6.1 million in individual donations Allred raised came in amounts under $200, compared to $646,000 of the $3.4 million in receipts reported by Cruz.

The one state where would-be Republican Senate challengers posted significant hauls was Ohio, where Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown raised $5 million during the quarter and had $8.7 million in the bank. GOP businessman Bernie Moreno, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2022 primary, raised $2.3 million and had $1.5 million on hand. Republican Matt Dolan raised $1.3 million and had $3.9 million on hand, after loaning the campaign $4 million of his own money so far this year.

Incumbent Senate Democrats who have built cash bankrolls while they wait to learn who will challenge them include Montana’s Jon Tester, who raised $5.1 million and had $10.5 million on hand; Nevada’s Jacky Rosen, who raised $2.7 million and had $7.5 million on hand; Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, who raised $4 million and had $5.9 million on hand; Virginia’s Tim Kaine, who raised $2 million and had $6.3 million on hand; and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who raised $3.3 million and had $5.5 million on hand.

Open Senate races

Beyond California, the biggest amount of money raised in an open Senate seat race didn’t come from fat cats or small-dollar donors. It was the $9.7 million that Rep. David Trone loaned his campaign during the quarter as the Democrat vies to succeed retiring Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in Maryland.

Trone, who became a millionaire building the multi-state chain Total Wine & More, is running in the primary against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who raised $1.7 million, and Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, who raised $526,000 during the quarter. 

In Michigan’s open Senate race, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin raised $2.8 million and had a bankroll of $3.7 million on June 30. The Republican listing the most receipts during the quarter was Michael Hoover, whose $174,000 haul for the quarter included a $160,000 personal loan.

In Delaware and Indiana, there was minimal fundraising activity against the House members who are also vying to succeed senators from their own parties. Delaware Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester raised $1.8 million, while Indiana Republican Jim Banks raised $1 million.

Ryan Kelly contributed to this report.

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