Lawmakers pitch in money for Georgia Senate runoffs

After Election Day, more Republicans than Democrats transferred funds to party committees

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham's campaign transferred $1 million to the NRSC after Election Day.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham's campaign transferred $1 million to the NRSC after Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted December 4, 2020 at 2:00pm

New campaign finance reports show that some lawmakers are funneling their own campaign money to party committees to assist with the two runoff elections in Georgia, with Senate control on the line. 

Both parties are mobilizing ahead of the Jan. 5 runoffs. Republicans are defending two seats, with Sen. David Perdue facing Democrat Jon Ossoff, and Sen. Kelly Loeffler facing Democratic pastor Raphael Warnock in a special election.

A full fundraising picture will not be clear until Dec. 24, when the runoff candidates file their campaign finance reports. But transfers to party committees disclosed this week show one way lawmakers are engaging in the races. After Election Day, more Republicans than Democrats transferred campaign funds to their party, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday, covering the period from Oct. 15 through Nov. 23. 

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham led the pack, sending $1 million to the National Republican Senatorial Committee after Election Day. 

“Republican control of the U.S. Senate is critical to preventing our country from going down a path towards socialism,” Graham said in a Thursday night statement. “I am doing everything I can to propel my colleagues David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to victory in the Georgia senate runoffs.”

Two other senators reelected last month also contributed to the NRSC: Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy gave $100,000 and West Virginia’s Shelly Moore Capito chipped in $50,000. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and former Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer also transferred money to the NRSC. 

The NRSC has also set up a joint fundraising committee with Perdue and Loeffler known as the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund. Twenty-one House Republicans, two GOP senators, three newly elected House members, and two former members of Congress contributed a combined $734,000 to the committee through their own campaigns and leadership PACs. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the largest contribution, sending a combined $500,000 to the joint committee from his campaign and leadership PAC. 

Three members-elect, Beth Van Duyne and Tony Gonzales of Texas and Michelle Fiscbach of Minnesota, also contributed to the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund. GOP Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania also made contributions. Toomey is not running for reelection in 2022.

“We appreciate everyone’s help to ensure Senators Perdue and Loeffler have the resources they need to be victorious on January 5th,” said NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt. “Stacey Abrams, Hollywood liberals and socialists like [New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] are drumming up whatever resources they can get their hands on to influence this election, making it important all Republicans band together in this fight.” 

Just former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has contributed to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee since Election Day. Nelson, who lost a close race in 2018, chipped in $5,000. 

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed was the only lawmaker to contribute to the joint fundraising committee between the DSCC, Warnock and Ossoff, known as the Ossoff-Warnock Victory Fund. Reed’s leadership PAC contributed $25,000.

Transferring funds to party committees isn’t the only way sitting lawmakers can help send money to the Georgia runoffs. Several have been participating in fundraisers and campaigning with their party’s candidates.

Last month, Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Cory Booker of New Jersey leveraged their Twitter followers to raise more than $361,000 for Warnock, Ossoff and Fair Fight Action, a group founded by Abrams. 

On Friday the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund is hosting a virtual fundraiser featuring Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who will chair the NRSC for the 2022 cycle. The fundraiser, conducted over Zoom, solicits contributions ranging from $1,000 to $5,600 according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Kate Ackley contributed to this report.