By Jim Ellis
Oct. 19, 2018 — The third quarter financial disclosure reports are now public, and more details are readily available. Thus, we are able to learn about various record-setting fundraising efforts.
In addition to Texas US Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) attracting $38 million in the third quarter, an all-time record for any such campaign, several House candidates also reported financial numbers that have never been seen for district-level politics.
In the third quarter of 2018, nine House contenders exceeded raising $3 million, eight Democrats and one Republican.
In California’s 22nd District, incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the top Republican fundraiser and appears to have accumulated more financial resources for the entire campaign than any other congressional candidate of either party. In the quarter, Rep. Nunes raised $3.14 million. For the campaign, he has exceeded the $10.5 million mark.
But his Democratic opponent, attorney Andrew Janz, brought in over $4 million for the quarter, the only congressional candidate in the US to do so, and an all-time record for a quarter. He still trails Rep. Nunes in overall receipts (Janz posted $7.13 million for the campaign), however. Together, this campaign leads the nation in combined fundraising with over $17 million. For a regular cycle congressional campaign – not including the special elections we saw earlier that became national contests – this, too, is likely an all-time record for a House contest.
As previously reported, Kentucky Democratic challenger Amy McGrath raised $3.65 million and became the first to publicize that she had eclipsed the $3 million mark. Josh Harder, challenging California Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock/Modesto), also exceeded the $3.6 million mark. Katie Hill, opposing Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) in Los Angeles County did even better, pulling in $3.8 million. Another Californian, businessman Harley Rouda, challenging Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), raised $3.1 million.
But the money wasn’t just flowing in California. Upstate New York challenger Antonio Delgado scored $3.8 million in the quarter to bolster his bid against Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook). Dr. Kim Shrier also posted $3.8 million for the 90 days ending Sept. 30. She is competing for GOP Rep. Dave Reichert’s (R-Auburn) open seat in Washington against former state senator and statewide nominee Dino Rossi. And, retired CIA officer Abigail Spanberger tallied $3.6 million in her race against sophomore Virginia Rep. Dave Brat (R-Glen Allen).
But, the large hauls don’t tell the complete financial story. While these Democratic candidates all have highly impressive fundraising hauls, they are also spending wildly. Janz has already expended over $4 million and trails Rep. Nunes in cash-on-hand, $5.1 to $1.4 million.
While Harder has outraised Rep. Denham, $5.5 to $3.6 million, the congressman has the COH advantage, $1.9 to $1.5 million.
Despite Spanberger and Delgado outraising House incumbents Brat and Faso by a 2:1 ratio, respectively, their cash-on-hand advantage is only $300,000 apiece. McGrath outraised Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) by a 3:2 margin but has only a $400,000 COH edge.
But the other Democrats have clear advantages. Hill is overwhelming Rep. Knight in fundraising and resources on hand. Her COH advantage at the end of September was $2.4 million to $420,000. Rep. Rohrabacher is in similar shape; Rouda commands the resource advantage against the 15-term incumbent, $1.49 million to $506,000. Dr. Shirer outpaces Rossi by just about $700,000.
Of course, none of these numbers consider outside spending on behalf of almost all of the aforementioned candidates from both parties. While these are the most prodigious fundraisers among the House candidates, the financial largess does not guarantee victory. Virtually all of the competitive candidates around the country will have the resources to adequately tell their campaign stories.