Category Archives: Financials

Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll

By Jim Ellis

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

Feb. 4, 2022 — Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), who trailed in the most recent published statewide poll (Trafalgar Group; Nov. 24-29; 1,034 likely Nevada general election voters; Adam Laxalt (R) 44 percent, Cortez Masto (D) 41 percent) has rebounded to regain the lead according to a new OH Predictive Insights survey, but warning signs persist for the first-term incumbent.

The OHPI poll commissioned for the Nevada Independent news site (Jan. 19-26; 755 likely Nevada registered voters, online) finds Sen. Cortez Masto topping former state Attorney General Laxalt (R) in a general election ballot test by a 44-35 percent margin. While the spread is relatively strong in her favor, posting a 44 percent support number is low for any incumbent.

For example, the same poll tested Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, and found his preference figure reaching 52 percent if Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo were his Republican opponent, and 54 percent if former US Sen. Dean Heller were to become the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Because OHPI forced preference answers, meaning no recorded undecided responses for the governor’s ballot test, the Sisolak support numbers are high. It is unlikely, however, that a traditional preference question would find him dropping to the senator’s current support level.

The OHPI pollster isolated Sen. Cortez Masto’s most significant problem as her being tied to President Biden’s low approval ratings. According to this study, the president only posts a 41:53 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval index, and 33 percent, which is the poll’s top issue response, said that the economy and jobs are most important to them. Isolating Biden’s score on his handling of the economy, the president’s disapproval rose to 55 percent, darkening the political climate for the senator even further.

Laxalt’s low support number (35 percent) is likely due to him recording only a 76 percent preference factor among Republicans. This is likely due to the fact that challenger Sam Brown, a businessman and disabled Afghan War veteran, is becoming a significant contender for the Republican nomination.

Though the GOP sample segment is low in the OHPI survey – only 230 respondents and well below the 300 that becomes statistically significant in a state the size of Nevada – we still see only 37 percent of the Republican base supporting Laxalt while 14 percent names Brown as their preferred candidate. This means that 49 percent of those Republicans polled say they are undecided about whom to support in the GOP Senate primary. Despite having a short sample, the results suggest that Laxalt still has work to do in securing the nomination.

Another changing element that could affect this race, but in a heretofore unknown way, are the party registration changes occurring throughout 2021. Comparing the partisan breakdown in the state from January of 2021 through December of last year, both the Democrats and Republicans lost patrons. Democratic registration dropped 2.9 percent, while Republicans were down 2.5 percent. This meant that those registering Non-Partisan and “Other” were up substantially.

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Q3 FEC Senate Cash Updates

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 22, 2021 — The 3rd Quarter campaign finance summaries and reports are now publicly available at the Federal Election Commission website, and we have the recap for the key competitive Senate races in this Update. As typical for political campaigns since the latter part of the previous decade, the dollar figures are again astronomical.

The amounts are in hundreds of thousands, and COH refers to the candidates’ total cash-on-hand figures since the 2022 election cycle began. The Daily Kos Election website statisticians calculated the 3rd Quarter dollar amounts.

Alaska

CANDIDATE 3rd QTR RAISED (,000) TOTAL COH (,000)
Murkowski $1,062 $3,244
Tshibaka $460 $294

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former State Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka are the only two candidates who filed disclosure reports. Despite an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, the Tshibaka financial figures are less than expected. With Alaska’s new top four primary system, the early money is rather irrelevant since four candidates, including Sen. Murkowski and Ms. Tshibaka, will advance into the general election.


Arizona

CANDIDATE 3rd QTR RAISED (,000) TOTAL COH (,000)
Kelly $7,217 $13,001
Masters $1,008 $864
Brnovich $559 $515
Lamon $133 $3,606

Sen. Mark Kelly continues to be one of the most prolific fundraisers of all Senate candidates. His huge $13.1 million cash-on-hand figure is topped only by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s $31.8 million, and Sens. Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) $17.2 million and John Thune’s (R-SD) $14.8 million. Candidate Blake Masters is rumored to be benefiting from an outside $10 million Super PAC that billionaire Peter Thiel funds. Candidate Jim Lamon self-funded most of his $3 million-plus cash-on-hand total.


Florida

CANDIDATE 3rd QTR RAISED (,000) TOTAL COH (,000)
Demings $8,351 $5,967
Rubio $5,928 $9,612

Sen. Marco Rubio had a very strong fundraising quarter, but so did his opponent, Rep. Val Demings. Both have large war chests, but each has already spent millions to achieve these totals. Both candidates will advance into a competitive and expensive general election campaign in the Sunshine State.


Georgia

CANDIDATE 3rd QTR RAISED (,000) TOTAL COH (,000)
Warnock $9,432 $17,217
Walker $3,764 $2,477
Black $564 $928

Sen. Raphael Warnock raised more money in the quarter than any Senate candidate and already has a huge war chest. Herschel Walker’s first fundraising quarter as a candidate, and a partial one at that, has to be considered highly successful, but his resources pale in comparison to the incumbent’s dollar raising machine.


Iowa

CANDIDATE 3rd QTR RAISED (,000) TOTAL COH (,000)
Finkenauer $1,019 $598
Grassley $814 $3,064

Sen. Chuck Grassley announced his intention to seek re-election just a week before the third-period fundraising cycle ended. While he didn’t raise as much as his present chief opponent during the third quarter, former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer, his resource total is substantially better than hers and sets him in strong position to launch a massive fundraising effort.


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Ohio Specials Prelude

By Jim Ellis

OH-11

July 28, 2021 — Voters in north Texas went to the polls yesterday to decide the double-Republican runoff in their state’s vacant 6th District, but there is unfolding action in the two Ohio special elections right now. The Buckeye State’s vacant CD’s will culminate with partisan primary elections next week, on Aug. 3.

First, the Mellman Group, polling for the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC (July 13-17; 400 OH-11 likely Democratic primary voters, live interview), sees the multi-candidate contest in the Cleveland-Akron seat that has evolved into a race between two candidates getting even closer.

Mellman’s ballot test finds former state senator and ex-Bernie Sanders for president national co-chair Nina Turner leading Cuyahoga County ouncilmember and local Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown by a tightening 41-36 percent spread with the momentum again flowing toward the latter woman. The remaining 11 candidates all split an aggregate five percent, with the remainder categorized as undecided/don’t know/refused to answer.

We can expect a very active final week as the candidates continue attempting to convince their voters to cast early ballots or visit the polls a week from tomorrow. The eventual Democratic nominee will become the prohibitive favorite heading into the Nov. 2 special general election. The winner will replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) who resigned the seat upon her confirmation as Housing & Urban Development Secretary in President Biden’s cabinet.

Mellman’s most recent effort delivered the closest result from a Democratic polling firm. Compared to their June poll, Brown is the beneficiary of a net 19-point swing. In the June poll, Mellman found a 50-26 percent spread in favor of Turner. In early July, Normington Petts, polling for the Brown campaign, also detected movement toward their client. They forecast a 43-36 percent result, certainly in the same realm as the Mellman poll conducted more than a week later. The original Mellman poll came in April and found Turner more than doubling Brown’s support, at 42-19 percent.

The primary campaign is dividing along the past Democratic primary presidential lines. The Bernie Sanders’ group, including the candidate himself, has endorsed Turner, along with the Justice Democrats PAC associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and their individual congressional supporters.

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New State Fundraising Figures

By Jim Ellis

No surprise that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) tops the fundraising list.

July 20, 2021 — The second quarter Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports are now public, and while it will take some time to comprehend the individual filings, we can look at the aggregate state data to begin drawing some early US House political situation conclusions:

The following is a list of the 80 office holders and candidates who exceeded $1 million-plus in receipts since Jan. 1, 2021, including 74 incumbents.

A total of 45 are Democrats as compared to 35 Republicans. A brief explanation of why certain individuals have raised this much money is also included.

California

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Pelosi, Nancy D CA-12 $6,873,128 $7,150,847
McCarthy, Kevin R CA-23 $6,312,663 $6,305,397
Porter, Katie D CA-45 $4,887,831 $12,859,730
Schiff, Adam D CA-28 $3,979,554 $15,639,499
Nunes, Devin R CA-22 $2,525,366 $11,539,624
Khanna, Ro D CA-17 $2,307,112 $3,822,319
Harder, Josh D CA-10 $1,987,919 $5,040,053
Kim, Young R CA-39 $1,594,073 $1,447,568
Garcia, Mike R CA-25 $1,353,194 $822,554
Steel, Michelle R CA-48 $1,352,557 $1,008,266
Collins, Joe R CA-43 $1,199,044 $180,383
Swalwell, Eric D CA-15 $1,085,947 $654,799

No surprise that the two party leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) top the fundraising list, though House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) exceeded by just over $600,000 the top GOP total.

Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) had their typically strong fundraising periods. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has the lowest population number of any district, and he sits in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. Both points make him vulnerable in redistricting from a state that is losing a congressional district. Joe Collins (R) is opposing Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles). It is obvious from his large receipt total and small cash-on-hand figure that he is raising his money through direct mail prospecting, which is an expensive proposition.

Colorado

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Boebert, Lauren R CO-3 $1,794,955 $1,252,630
Donovan, Kerry D CO-3 $1,179,347 $479,246

Obviously, the western slope 3rd District race will be competitive and expensive.

Florida

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Gaetz, Matt R FL-1 $3,277,058 $1,585,935
Cherfilus-McCormick, Sheila D FL-20 $2,409,407 $2,081,704
Mast, Brian R FL-18 $1,749,636 $1,720,117
Donalds, Byron R FL-19 $1,468,065 $958,339
Salazar, Maria Elvira R FL-27 $1,201,681 $672,473
Murphy, Stephanie D FL-7 $1,165,011 $1,973,288

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D) is in the special election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). Most of her money is self-contributed. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) may soon be facing legal charges, so much of his campaign treasury may be paying legal fees. Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) look to be facing serious re-election opposition.

Georgia

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Greene, Marjorie T. R GA-14 $4,775,059 $2,792,569
Flowers, Marcus D GA-14 $2,018,385 $547,579
McBath, Lucy D GA-6 $1,575,051 $1,326,020
Bourdeaux, Carolyn D GA-7 $1,240,567 $1,131,140

There is no doubt that the 14th District race featuring controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) will be expensive and attract a great deal of media attention. Reps. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) face uncertain redistricting challenges.

Illinois

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Krishnamoorthi, R. D IL-8 $2,282,380 $10,090,383
Kinzinger, Adam R IL-16 $1,954,927 $3,075,610
Underwood, Lauren D IL-14 $1,685,298 $1,479,294

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Schaumberg) is a consistent major fundraiser. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) faces an uncertain redistricting situation along with a strong Republican primary challenge. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville) will likely receive a more Democratic seat in redistricting.

Iowa

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Hinson, Ashley R IA-1 $1,443,371 $929,482
Axne, Cindy D IA-3 $1,292,496 $1,038,635
Miller-Meeks, M. R IA-2 $1,045,361 $1,174,066

As we can see from the fundraising totals, Iowa could be the most competitive US House state in 2022 with three of the state’s four seats being top-tier challenger races.

Kansas

INCUMBENT PARTY DIST RECEIPTS CASH-ON-HAND
Davids, Sharice D KS-3 $1,192,865 $1,222,016

2022: The Unannounced

By Jim Ellis

July 19, 2021 — The Fox News website ran a story late last week saying that there remain five in-cycle US senators who have not yet revealed their political plans for 2022. Below is a review of those senators’ political situations and clues that could provide a glimpse whether they are headed toward re-election or retirement.

The best hints will be forthcoming in a matter of days as the second quarter campaign financial disclosure reports will be released shortly on the Federal Election Commission website. Last Thursday was the deadline for filing the reports for the period covering April 1 through June 30.

The five senators, listed alphabetically by state are Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).


Sen. Murkowski:

State: Alaska
Appointed: 2002
Re-elected: 2004, 2010, 2016
Age at time of 2022 election: 65
Victory Margin 2016: 44.4 – 29.2%

Announced Major Opponents:
• Karl Speights (R) – Retired Air Force officer
• Kelly Tshibaka (R) – Former AK Administration Commissioner

It is assumed that Sen. Murkowski will run for re-election, though her return path to Washington may be a difficult one to traverse. Last night, her campaign spokesperson stated that the Senator’s second quarter disclosure report would show $1.15 million raised for the quarter with $2.3 million cash-on-hand. These are financial numbers that suggest she will seek re-election.

Alaska has changed its nominating system and will be the first state to adopt a “top four” primary procedure. Similar to California, Louisiana, and Washington that use the jungle primary format to send the top two candidates to the general election, Alaska will instead advance the top four from the slate primary. The change virtually ensures that Sen. Murkowski will not again lose the Republican primary as she did in the 2010 election. In that year, she was forced to run a highly efficient general election write-in operation to win her second full term.

Early polling numbers find Sen. Murkowski with very poor favorability numbers among Republicans and running a distant third behind Kelly Tshibaka (R), who is already the state Republican Party’s officially endorsed candidate. Dr. Al Gross (D), the 2020 Senate nominee, has not yet committed to running again, but he, too, runs ahead of the Senator in the previously released surveys.

While the top four system guarantees Sen. Murkowski will secure a ballot position for the general election, winning her re-election is in doubt.


Sen. Grassley:

State: Iowa
First Elected: 1980
Re-elected: 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2016
Age at time of 2022 election: 89
Victory Margin 2016: 60.1 – 35.7%

Announced Major Opponents:
• Jim Carlin (R) – State Senator; former State Representative
• Glenn Hurst (D) – Minden City Councilman; Physician
• Dave Muhlbauer (D) – Ex-Crawford County Commissioner; Farmer

Last week Sen. Grassley stated that he would make his political plan public before Nov. 1. Despite his advanced age, it is presumed in all sectors now that Sen. Grassley will seek re-election. He has filed a 2022 campaign committee with the FEC, has a semi-updated website, and it will be interesting to see how active his fundraising became in the second quarter. His March 31 report revealed a cash-on-hand figure of $2.04 million to begin the re-election cycle.

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Senate Money

By Jim Ellis

April 23, 2021 — Continuing our analysis of early 2022 campaign cycle fundraising based upon the first quarter 2021 Federal Election Commission disclosure reports, today we look at the key US Senate contests.

Tracking the Senate race dollars is much different than the House because the FEC groups incumbent statewide campaigns by election cycle. Therefore, the receipts column covers the period from when the incumbents last ran through March 31, 2021. This means the senators are reporting dollars raised from Jan. 1, 2017 through the first quarter deadline. For candidates just entering the 2022 campaign — those in the open seats for example — the disclosure period begins Jan. 1, 2021.

Therefore, the receipts category is not as telling for Senate campaign standing as it is for the House campaigns. Thus, the key category to gauge where the Senate candidates stand in relation to the 2022 campaign cycle is their cash-on-hand total.

The chart below focuses on the races thought to be competitive for the 2022 election. As we have seen in modern times, the financial aspect of Senate campaigns is less important than for the House in determining or projecting final outcome because so much is now spent on the statewide races even in the smallest of states.

Typically, Senate nominees from both parties consistently have more than adequate financial resources with which to communicate their messages. Furthermore, the current income/spending figures as they relate to candidate committees don’t account for the large amount of outside independent expenditures that now accompany almost all competitive US Senate campaigns, which certainly can alter final outcome.

In terms of clarification, Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) total of $27,517,878 includes the amount raised for his statewide runoff campaign that was decided on Jan. 5, 2021. This explains why his receipts total is so high, and far beyond any other incumbent or candidate listed on the chart.

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House Money

By Jim Ellis

April 22, 2021 — The first quarter Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports were due from all incumbents and official candidates on April 15, and the statistical staff from the Daily Kos Elections website, as they typically do, tallied and organized all the monetary results.

For the quarter, 493 House incumbents and candidates filed reports. The incumbent category does not include those who have already announced they are not seeking re-election in 2022. As a group, the 493 House political organizations raised an aggregate $138,944,000 for a mean average of $281,915 per individual campaign. Conversely, the median average, defined as a number of which an equal share of entities are above and below, was only $143,000.

This particular median average result tells us that the 1st quarter House political dollar stats are very top heavy, with a total of 23 contenders, all incumbents, raising more than $1 million for the quarter.

The top fundraiser, not unexpectedly, obtaining just under $4 million was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The second-place finisher, however, was a surprise. Controversial Republican freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was stripped of her committee assignments because of her association with QAnon theory, amassed over $3.22 million, virtually all from small donors. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) recorded $3.16 million in receipts, just about $400,000 ahead of party leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The cash-on-hand numbers were actually quite stunning. The aggregate total for the 493 reporting entities is $442,131,000 for a mean average per campaign unit of $856,259. Again, this is weighted heavily to the top quarter of campaigns, as the median average is only $458,000.

The House member with the most money in his account is California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) with a whopping $14.4 million cash-on-hand. Raising almost $2 million in the first quarter, Schiff, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during the Trump impeachment hearings was able to rake in millions.

He may need to make heavy expenditures in the next election campaign, however. California is likely to lose a seat in reapportionment, and Schiff, whose district sits in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and has the lowest population level of all 53 current Golden State US House districts, is in danger of seeing his seat being the one eliminated.

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