Adding to the widespread fundraising success of national Democrats so far this election cycle, the party’s House incumbents ended June in a strong financial position and with cash leads over their GOP rivals, newly filed quarterly money reports showed.
Almost across the board, targeted House Democrats outraised their Republican counterparts in the three-month period, and all of the vulnerable or potentially vulnerable Democratic Members ended June with more money in the bank than their GOP challengers.
Several Democratic challengers also outraised GOP incumbents in the quarter. Targeted GOP Reps. John Doolittle (Calif.), Sam Graves (Mo.), Ralph Regula (Ohio), Jean Schmidt (Ohio) and Christopher Shays (Conn.) were among those who collected less money than their Democratic opponents — and in some cases their primary challengers as well.
According to figures computed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the average cash-on-hand figure for members of the committee’s “Frontline” program was $607,000 as of June 30. Members pegged for the Frontline program generally are considered the most vulnerable and are given extra fundraising assistance.
“Americans across the country are continuing to enthusiastically support the Democrats’ new direction for the country,” said DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider. “Our Frontline members are working hard on behalf of their constituents and are off to a great start this cycle.”
The committee is further beefing up its assistance to vulnerable Members by hiring Brian Smoot as director of incumbent retention and candidate services, which is a new position. A veteran of several Democratic campaigns, Smoot currently is chief of staff to freshman Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and will start in the position on Aug. 1. He will work closely with Frontline campaigns.
Klein, along with freshman Democratic Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.) and Joe Sestak (Pa.) raised more than $500,000 in the quarter. Gillibrand, Giffords and Murphy are all Frontline members, though Gillibrand is the only one who has drawn a competitive challenger at this point. All five Members have $1 million or almost that much in the bank at this point.
Gillibrand raised $717,000 in the quarter and showed more than $1.1 million in the bank at the end of last month.
Murphy, who could face a rematch with ex-Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), raised $790,000 in the period and had $965,000 on hand.
On the flip side, freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) was outraised by both of her Republican opponents. Boyda, a top target for the GOP, raised $234,000 and had $347,000 on hand as of June 30. Former Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), who was defeated by Boyda, raised $352,000 while state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins (R) raised $307,000. Boyda still showed more money than both Republicans had in the bank.
Republicans point to the fact that while many of their challengers might be trailing Democratic incumbents in cash now, their candidates are still financially ahead of where most Democratic challengers were at this point in 2005 — especially those challengers who went on to defeat incumbents last year.
Freshman Democrats such as Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Tim Mahoney (Fla.) and Jerry McNerney (Calif.) were hardly even registering as viable Democratic contenders at this point in the previous cycle.
More veteran Members on both sides of the aisle who could face difficult re-elections next year also continued to pad their coffers.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.