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.
Among Republicans, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) continued to stand out for his second-quarter fundraising performance after posting the best first-quarter total among GOP incumbents. Kirk raised $617,000 in the latest period and ended June with $1.1 million on hand. Kirk had a closer-than-expected race in 2006, though Democrats have a primary this cycle to determine who will face off against the four-term Chicago-area Congressman.
GOP Reps. Joe Knollenberg (Mich.) and Jon Porter (Nev.), who have yet to draw top-tier challengers, had very strong quarters as well. Knollenberg raised $443,000 and had more than $600,000 in the bank, while Porter raised $460,000 and had $407,000 on hand.
Other targeted Republicans did well in the quarter, including Reps. Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Steve Chabot (Ohio), Mike Ferguson (N.J.), Robin Hayes (N.C.), Marilyn Musgrave (Colo.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), Jim Walsh (N.Y.) and Heather Wilson (N.M.), all of whom outraised their Democratic challengers. All but Reichert have more available cash than their opponent.
Notable exceptions on the GOP side were Rep. Tim Walberg (Mich.), who raised $120,000 to Democrat David Nacht’s $161,000, and Rep. Randy Kuhl (N.Y.) who raised $72,000 compared with $178,000 and $215,000 for Democrats Eric Massa and David Nachbar, respectively.
GOP Reps. Rick Renzi (Ariz.) and John Doolittle (Calif.), who face re-election races complicated by their ethics woes, both struggled financially in the quarter. Doolittle, who faces a rematch with Democrat Charlie Brown, raised $129,000 in the quarter but ended June with just $74,000 in the bank. Brown raised $198,000 and had $269,000 on hand.
Renzi raised $66,000 and showed a paltry $20,000 in the bank.
Graves and Shays had much better quarters but ended up being outraised by their opponents. Both Republicans still have slight cash-on-hand advantages, however.
Graves, who Democrats are targeting for the first time since he won the seat in 2000, raised $288,000 to $330,000 for former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes (D). Shays raked in $281,000, while his opponent, Greenwich Democratic leader Jim Himes (D), collected $353,000.
Both Schmidt and Regula were outraised by primary opponents as well as Democratic challengers. Schmidt has always faced a difficult primary challenge since winning a 2005 special election. Regula, who raised $82,000, is a retirement possibility next year.
Among Democratic veterans, Reps. Chet Edwards (Texas), Melissa Bean (Ill.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.) showed impressive hauls for the quarter.
Edwards raised $463,000 and had $684,000 in reserve. Bean raised $552,000 and had $803,000 in the bank on June 30. Marshall raised $301,000 and had $631,000 on hand.
Marshall and Bean have both drawn competitive challengers.
A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said that in the end its candidates will have the resources needed to compete.
“The second-quarter numbers show that our Members are working hard and taking any potential challenge seriously,” said the NRCC’s Julie Shutley. “Members that had a tougher race than they anticipated last year are taking all necessary precautions and gearing up for another race this time. We think, in the end, they will have every resource they need to be successful.”
Correction: July 18, 2007
A chart accompanying the July 17 article “Democrats Get Big Cash Haul” incorrectly listed the cash-on-hand total for Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) through June 30. It was $254,000.