Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

GOP Senate Candidates Rebound in Money Chase

After being outshone by Democrats in the first quarter of the 2010 cycle, Senate Republican candidates rebounded with a respectable showing in the second quarter — including a few bright stars who stood out above the rest.

With some reports still outstanding Wednesday evening, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s $4.3 million raised in just 50 days and Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt’s $1.4 million stood out as two of Republicans’ biggest bright spots in the quarterly fundraising war.

Crist’s haul in the open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R) was a tour de force in a primary where he faces former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R). And while it’s too early to say if it’s a knock-out blow to Rubio, Crist’s money total was welcome news for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is backing Crist.

The NRSC also made a move during the second quarter to endorse Blunt in the open Missouri Senate race after he put up a mediocre first-quarter fundraising showing and seemed to be facing a competitive primary challenge.

But the second-quarter figures showed Blunt’s campaign is back on track with almost $1.8 million in cash on hand at the end of June and what appears to be a clear primary field. For now at least, Blunt can focus on the general election where Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) — who has raised over $1 million in each of the first two fundraising quarters — will be waiting.

Elsewhere, former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was another bright spot for Senate Republicans. Portman ended June with $4.3 million in the bank — the most of any Republican not holding federal office — and raised $1.7 million in the past three months.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, one of two viable Democrats running next year, announced he raised over $900,000 in the quarter and has almost $1.9 million in the bank. The other competitive Democrat in the race, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, will report raising $228,000 this quarter, according to the Dayton Daily News. Brunner’s poor showing, for the second quarter in a row, further solidifies her place as the underdog in the race.

Democrats weren’t without fundraising stars of their own this quarter.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (Nev.) more than $3.2 million raised and $7.3 million in cash on hand are two major reasons that Republican dreams of knocking off the Senate’s top Democrat may be slipping away. Two other reasons are the fact that Republicans have yet to field a serious candidate in Nevada and the media circus that continues to follow Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) proved to be one of the top fundraisers among the candidates in his new party by bringing in $1.7 million in the quarter and ending June with $7.5 million in cash on hand.

But Specter will likely have to spend some of his burgeoning war chest on what is expected to be a bloody primary against Rep. Joe Sestak (D), who has all but announced he is in the race. Sestak announced he raised more than $1 million in the second quarter and he has more than $4.2 million in the bank.

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced he raised $1.6 million — almost as much as Portman — for his Senate bid. Toomey, who was recently endorsed by the NRSC, had $1.1 million in the bank.

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