Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold never raised more than $1 million in any quarter of 2009, but he ended up spending a healthy $15 million by the end of the cycle. However, what led to his defeat was a hostile political environment mixed with a Republican challenger who self-funded about $9 million and matched Feingold’s spending.
Even if every Democratic incumbent wins in November, there are enough open Democratic seats for the GOP to win the majority.
Democratic Senators have announced their retirements in Hawaii, North Dakota, New Mexico and Virginia, while Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, is also retiring at the end of this term. Depending on which party wins the White House, Republicans will need to pick up three or four seats for a Senate majority.
The GOP has a few seats of its own to defend. The most vulnerable include the open Nevada seat, where Reps. Dean Heller (R) and Shelley Berkley (D) are on a collision course for the general election, and Massachusetts, where Sen. Scott Brown is stocking his coffers for a race with an undetermined Democratic challenger.
Brown raised $1.7 million in the quarter, and potential Democratic candidates will have to contend with his Senate-best $8.3 million campaign war chest.
Heller raised roughly the same amount as Berkley in the first quarter, $671,000 to Berkley’s $695,000. Berkley had almost $1.6 million on hand at the end of March, while Heller had $1.4 million.