Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Campaign Dollars – Quarter 1

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2022 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has released the campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending March 31, and the Daily Kos Elections site analysts have published their regular comprehensive summaries for all Senate and House incumbents and candidates.

In the Senate, the top fundraisers for the campaign-to-date are familiar names, and they are repeating their overwhelming performance from the 2020 election cycle. For the 2022 race, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) reports $44.2 million in receipts with a cash-on-hand total of $25.6 million. Both are higher than any individual running for the Senate in the 2022 cycle. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is close behind, raising $39.0 million for the campaign cycle with $23.3 million in his treasury.

Based upon state population segments, Sen. Kelly is actually the stronger of the two because he comes from a smaller state. Dividing the funding evenly by congressional district, Sen. Kelly averages $4.3 million per his state’s nine congressional districts, while Sen. Warnock posts $3.2 million per Georgia’s 14 CDs.

The next most prolific fundraisers come from the same race. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Orlando) is the top money producing challenger in the country, posting $30.5 million in receipts for the campaign cycle. Her opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), is virtually even with her, attracting $29.3 million. Cash-on-hand is about dead even, too. Rep. Demings reports $13.2 million in her account; Sen. Rubio, $13.1 million.

For the Republicans, the top challenger fundraiser, though he is leagues behind general election opponent Sen. Warnock, is Georgia’s Herschel Walker with $14.2 million raised.

The aggregate group of Senate candidates raising the most in one challenger contest is found in Wisconsin, as Democrats Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have cumulatively brought in $18.2 million. Lasry, an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club, has gross receipts of over $9 million, but $5.8 million is self-sourced. Godlewski reports $5.1 million in total dollars raised, but $3.3 million comes from herself. Lt. Gov. Barnes has raised $4 million without any self-funding. For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has obtained $10.8 million for his 2022 re-election campaign.

The most prolific open seat fundraisers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The combined candidate dollar total in the Keystone State exceeds $45 million, but almost $18 million of that total is self-funded from Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The group from Ohio is close behind with $44.8 million obtained. In this case, we see a combined self-funding total that exceeds $21 million.

On the House side, a total of 32 incumbents and challengers raised over $1 million just during the first quarter. Naturally, the party leaders, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($4.3 million), Minority Whip Steve Scalise ($3.4 million) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($3.3 million) are the most prolific.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($510,000) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn ($284,000) are clearly not in the top echelon, but are likely spending their time raising funds for their leadership PACs or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Additionally, with Democratic incumbents and candidates raising considerably more than their Republican counterparts, the individual campaigns need less from Washington.

The top non-incumbents breaking the $1 million mark for the quarter are Jessica Cisneros, now in a Texas Democratic runoff with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Marcus Flowers, who is challenging Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome), both at $2.4 million.

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Marist Poll Shows Bunched GOP Pack Struggling to Reach Double Digits

NBC/Marist conducted a series of polls in the first three presidential nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina finding a host of Republican candidates all jumbled near the top in each place.

The surveys were commissioned during the Feb. 3-10 period. In Iowa, 320 potential Republican caucus goers were sampled; the number was 381 in New Hampshire and 450 for South Carolina. Democrats also were polled but their results did not provide any new or particularly significant information.

In none of the polls did any Republican candidate exceed 20 percent of the intra-party vote. Furthermore, no less than three and not more than five individuals found double-digits in the trio of surveys. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee led Iowa with only 17 percent. Jeb Bush finished first in New Hampshire at 18 percent, while South Carolina favorite son Lindsey Graham, the state’s senior US senator, topped the Marist result in his home territory with a similar 17 percent standing.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and neurosurgeon Ben Carson were the other candidates to reach the double-digit plateau in at least one state. All 11 tested candidates fell within 18 percentage points from top to bottom in the three studies.
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Kitzhaber Resigns in Oregon;
NRCC Announces Patriots

FEB. 16, 2015 — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), seeing his conflict of interest scandal involving his longtime fiancé cost him key political support, announced that he will resign his office this Wednesday. Because Oregon has no lieutenant governor, Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) will replace the four-term chief executive. Dr. Kitzhaber, a physician, is the only person in Oregon state history to be elected to the top office four separate times.

Though not legally married to the governor, Cylvia Hayes serves as Oregon’s First Lady. Her failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from environmental organizations with business before the state, after Kitzhaber promised complete compliance with the Oregon disclosure laws for he and Ms. Hayes, began his downfall. Gov. Kitzhaber won re-election last November even after his conflict of interest with Hayes became common knowledge. But, the situation re-intensified during the past three weeks.
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The Frontline Candidates

FEB. 13, 2015 — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released its first group of Frontline program incumbents for the 2016 election cycle. These 14 representatives are viewed to be the most vulnerable of Democratic House incumbents, and a group that the DCCC is highlighting for increased outside support.

Some are more endangered than others, in addition to a group of four who is at least entertaining the idea of running statewide next year. Not having an incumbent in these marginal districts may be the Committee leadership’s greatest fear.

Clearly Competitive (in vulnerability order)

NE-2: Rep. Brad Ashford is likely the most endangered Democratic incumbent. The new congressman unseated eight-term Rep. Lee Terry (R-Omaha) in a vote that may have been more about the previous incumbent’s unpopularity than Ashford. The 2016 race, in a year when the district should vote Republican at the presidential level, could be more difficult for Ashford than his original election.

FL-2: Freshman Rep. Gwen Graham ran a strong campaign against a weak Republican incumbent. She will undoubtedly draw strong opposition, and the district will almost assuredly go Republican for president. The national trends at the time of the next election will play heavily upon how this congressional race unfolds.
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Republicans: Headed for
an Open Convention?

FEB. 12, 2015 — A new poll provides us an early clue about how spoiler candidates could force the Republican nomination into an open convention.

TargetPoint Consulting (Jan. 30-Feb. 3; 400 SC Republican primary voters) finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the GOP pack of candidates in a preliminary poll, finishing one point ahead of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in their new survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters. Both just barely top the double-digit mark (Walker 12 percent; Graham 11 percent), but still fare better than the other candidates including ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (10 percent), who finished second in the 2008 South Carolina primary, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent).

Though the difference among the candidates is negligible, the fact that Bush cannot break away from single-digits is significant. A recent Iowa poll (Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register) also projected Gov. Walker leading with Bush similarly mired in the middle of the pack. These poll results provide further evidence that the Republican nomination battle is wide open.

Sen. Graham has been publicly toying with the idea of entering the presidential race and promises a decision by the middle of this year. Aside from this poll of his home state electorate, he hasn’t even registered in surveys conducted in other states. Still, it is regional, or favorite-son candidates like he, who could play a major role in determining who ultimately does win the nomination.
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