Retired Coast Guard Capt. Art Halvorson, a Republican challenging Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., raised just $8,700 in the fourth quarter, according to his most recent fundraising report.
That paltry sum brings Halvorson's total cash on hand to $72,000 — just five months out from the May 20 primary.
Political operatives have previously described Halvorson's primary challenge as Shuster's toughest political fight in almost a decade. But another low quarterly haul will only cast doubt on Halvorson's viability to topple the House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman.
"It's not about the money; it’s a personal race and it’s a grass-roots race and the FEC report doesn’t tell the whole story," replied Halvorson to questions about his fundraising in a Thursday morning phone interview with CQ Roll Call. "We are out door-to-door and we are touching people and voters, and we are buying love with touches and Mr. Shuster’s big money doesn’t buy love."
Shuster was first elected to the district in 2001 to succeed his father, Rep. Bud Shuster, also a House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman.
Shuster has yet to file his fourth-quarter fundraising report, which is due to the Federal Election Commission at the end of the month. He reported more than $1.1 million in the bank at the end of September.
Halvorson has raised increasingly less with each quarter he's been in the race. He brought in $130,000 in his first quarter as a candidate — a sum that included a $100,000 personal loan to his campaign. Yet that number significantly dropped off between July and September, when he raised just $14,000.
Pennsylvania's 9th District is Safe Republican territory. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won here in 2012 with 63 percent.