Some Wealthy Republicans Give Themselves Q3 Campaign Cash Bumps

Select GOP candidates under pressure to dip into own accounts

Indiana Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun loaned his campaign against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly more money during the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have long been frustrated that a handful of candidates in tight races who could afford to loan their campaigns more of their own money had not done so.

A few of those GOP nominees changed that during the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, dipping into their personal resources to give their campaigns a cash infusion. Fundraising report filings were due Monday at midnight. 

Indiana’s Mike Braun, the GOP nominee for Senate against Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, loaned his primary campaign more than $6 million. That self-funding allowed the former state representative to blanket the airwaves with ads touting himself as an outsider businessman and defeat two congressmen in the GOP primary. But after securing the nomination in May, Braun’s personal funding slowed and Republican operatives worried about him being outspent on the airwaves for part of the summer. He loaned his campaign only $984,000 during the second quarter that ended June 30.

Braun seems to have gotten the message. He dropped another near $2.4 million into his campaign coffers during the third quarter. Excluding that loan, he raised about $3.3 million during the same period, ending Sept. 30 with $1.9 million in the bank. Donnelly raised nearly $3.1 million (without any loans) in the third quarter and finished with $4.5 million on hand. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up

In Ohio, GOP Rep. James B. Renacci is taking on two-term Democrat Sherrod Brown in a Likely Democratic race. For much of this year, Republican strategists had been hoping that Renacci, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, would put more of his own money into his campaign.

He didn’t do that in the third quarter. He raised $1.1 million to Brown’s nearly $3.8 million. Brown’s cycle-to-date fundraising broke Ohio’s record for a Senate race. The incumbent dropped off Roll Call’s ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators earlier this month in large part because Renacci hadn’t proved to be a competitive challenger. 

With House Democratic candidates posting monumental fundraising hauls this summer and fall, House Republicans have been under pressure to step up their game too. For those with personal wealth, that’s sometimes meant pressure to loan their campaigns money.

In New Jersey’s 3rd District, GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur had held off challengers in the past, in part, because of his personal wealth. He’s worth a minimum $30 million, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress analysis. But after winning re-election by 20 points in 2016, he faces a tighter race this year. Republicans, who were concerned that Democrat Andy Kim was outraising him, wished MacArthur would put more of his own money into his campaign. 

And he complied, loaning his campaign $800,000 during the third quarter — the first time he’s put money into his race this cycle. Excluding that loan, he raised $507,000 during the quarter and ended with $918,000 in the bank. Meanwhile, Kim raised nearly $2.3 million and had about $1.1 million on hand. Inside Elections rates the race Tilts Democratic

Strategists would also like to see North Carolina Rep. George Holding raise more money. Outside groups on both sides have been airing ads in his 2nd District race against Democrat Linda Coleman that Inside Elections rates Tilts Republican. Holding has a minimum net worth of $2.1 million, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress analysis.

But the congressman had not poured any of his own money into his campaign as of Sept. 30. He raised $665,000 during the third quarter — more than doubling what he raised during the previous quarter and ended September with $257,000 on hand. Coleman raised less during the same period (nearly $390,000), but ended with more cash in the bank ($445,000).  

Watch: Democrats Are Breaking Fundraising Records 3 Weeks From Election Day

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