Members and candidates vying for Congress in 2012 raised funds at a record-setting pace for a nonelection year, collecting more than $285 million during the first six months of 2011, according to a Federal Election Commission analysis released Wednesday.
The previous fundraising record for the first six months of a nonelection year was set in 2009. Campaigns for the House and Senate raised more than $254 million at the time, a difference of 12 percent.
House candidates raised $182.1 million from Jan. 1 to June 30, a boost of more than 11 percent when compared with the same period in 2009. The 2011 amount beats the previous record for the first half of a nonelection year, which was set in 2007 at $167 million.
The biggest chunk of the 2011 money raised among House campaigns went to Republicans, who brought in $113 million versus Democrats’ $69.1 million. Incumbents took in the bulk of the funds, and many new Members were able to build on the enthusiasm that led to their elections in 2010. Freshmen raised $37.2 million, an increase of more than 34 percent when compared with two years ago. The 84 Republican freshmen raised $35 million of this sum, while the nine Democrats raised $2.2 million.
Although the GOP dominated in fundraising for the House races, Democrats had the edge among 2012 Senate campaigns, raising almost $53 million compared with more than $48.3 million for Republicans. Independents raised close to $1.8 million.
Overall, incumbents and candidates competing in the 33 Senate races reported raising just more than $103 million during the first six months of 2011, surpassing the previous high for the first half of a nonelection year by more than 10 percent. That record was set in 2009 with $93.2 million.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.