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6 Major Surprises in House Campaign Fundraising

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
McIntyre raised $189,000 in the third quarter.

House campaigns reported their fundraising totals for July through September this week, revealing some surprising hauls from more than a handful of members and candidates.

The results showed some longtime members and formidable challengers beating expectations — while others now find themselves at severe cash disadvantages going into tough election cycles.

In no intentional order, here are the six most surprising third-quarter fundraising tallies:

North Carolina’s 7th District

Republicans are gunning for Rep. Mike McIntyre, a longtime Democratic member from this conservative district, with good reason. McIntyre won by fewer than 700 votes last year, while Mitt Romney carried the district by a 19-point margin.

McIntyre will face his 2012 GOP opponent, former state Sen. David Rouzer, again next year. Such a competitive district usually means donors are eager to open their wallets for candidates — but that wasn’t the case this time.

McIntyre raised $189,000 in the third quarter, while Rouzer only brought in a meager $92,000 during the same period.

Operatives argue this district is not a wealthy one, which often hurts fundraising totals. But it’s nonetheless surprising that neither party’s national donor base brought in big bucks for their candidates — especially for Rouzer.

Tennessee’s 4th District

Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ meager fundraising has caused many operatives to question whether the embattled Republican could raise enough money to run a viable re-election campaign.

But this quarter, DesJarlais rebounded to report raising $113,000 — a much higher number than his naysayers predicted.

Republicans would consider that to be a mediocre haul for most members, but the two-term Republican has been dogged by revelations he encouraged his ex-wife and a former mistress to have abortions.

Most importantly, this doesn’t mean DesJarlais is any less vulnerable than he was three months ago.

He faces a well-funded primary opponent in state Sen. Jim Tracy, who has raised more than DesJarlais in every quarter this year.

Less than a year away from the primary, Tracy boasts a 5-to-1 cash advantage over DesJarlais.

Florida’s 26th District

Talk about a rough three months in the headlines for freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat.

There was a criminal investigation into two former staffers accused of submitting fake absentee ballot requests. The congressman denies any wrongdoing on his part — but the local coverage was brutal.

Despite this, Garcia raked in $410,000 during the third quarter. He has more than $1 million in cash on hand — a large haul for any member and especially useful in this competitive district.

The reason? Welcome to Miami.

One Democratic operative noted, “There’s a lot of money here and there’s a lot of Cuban money here. ... You’ve got to give credit to Joe for going out and getting it.”

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