Category Archives: Financials

Q2: The Money Count – Senate

By Jim Ellis

July 22, 2019 — The second quarter campaign financials are now public, and already candidates in both parties have raised millions of dollars in preparation for hard-hitting 2020 US Senate campaigns. And, the two most prolific fundraising candidates from April through June are actually running against each other.

Arizona Senate candidate and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) | Sen. Martha McSally (R)

Topping the campaign receipts category with $4.21 million raised for the quarter is retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D), who is an Arizona Senate candidate. Close behind, with $3.34 million obtained during the same three-month period, is Kelly’s general election opponent, appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R). Obviously, with each candidate already holding between $4.3 million (McSally) and $5.9 million (Kelly) in their political committee accounts, this Arizona campaign will almost assuredly set a statewide campaign spending record in 2020.

Of the 30 Senate incumbents presumed to be actively seeking re-election next year, 21 raised over $1 million in the quarter, and four obtained more than $2 million. Two others topped $3 million in receipts. In addition to Sen. McSally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) raised just over the $3 million mark.

Another senator, Cory Booker (D-NJ), reports raising no money during the quarter for his Senate campaign because he is running for president.

Overall, the Republican candidates’ aggregate figure was higher than the Democrats in the second quarter ($33.3 to $29.8 million) and for the entire cycle through June 30 ($105.7 to $79.2 million). This is likely because the Republicans have more incumbents on the ballot in the current cycle, 19 to 11, in addition to defending three of the four open seats.

The cash-on-hand category is, of course, highly important. Here, three Republicans lead the category. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who faces the largest electorate in any 2020 Senate campaign, leads the cash category with just over $9 million in the bank. In no surprise, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has the second most, with $7.9 million. Third is South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham with $6.5 million.

The Democrat holding the highest number of dollars is again challenger Mark Kelly in Arizona. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who surprisingly had a close call in 2014, is the Democratic incumbent holding the most cash: $5.4 million.

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The House $ Tree

By Jim Ellis

April 19, 2019 — The Federal Election Commission reports are now in the public domain for first quarter 2019, and the amount of money being raised early suggests we could be headed for another record spending year in the 2020 campaigns.

While most incumbent House members show somewhat less than $500,000 in their accounts, many possess multimillion-dollar campaign war chests. In most cases, those comprising this latter group have been accumulating their funds for years without having to spend much on their own re-election efforts.

A handful of members, 36 to be exact, had strong first quarters defined as raising over $500,000 in the first 12 weeks of the new calendar year. Of the three dozen, and predictably so, many are in House leadership positions such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who obtained $1.7 million since the new year began.

The quarter’s top fundraiser, however, was House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who gathered in $2.46 million. And the range among the 36 most prolific fundraisers stretched from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-WA) $503,000 to Scalise’s aforementioned total. In all, 24 of the top House fundraisers are Democrats versus 12 Republicans.

Cash-on-hand is another very important category in assessing political strength, and here we see 41 members (29 Democrats; 12 Republicans) who brandish bank accounts in excess of $1.5 million.

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New Senate $ Figures

By Jim Ellis

April 18, 2019 — The first of eight quarters comprising the 2020 election cycle is now complete and, with that, most of the first Senate financial disclosure reports have been published. Below are the latest available cash-on-hand figures for the 31 in-cycle senators who are seeking re-election.

As you can see, the overwhelming number of incumbents are in strong financial position with Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) having more in the bank than anyone. He will need a large war chest because Texas is such an expensive state.

In 2018, Beto O’Rourke, who was challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) before declaring his presidential candidacy, raised over $80 million — some $34 million more than his incumbent opponent. Combined, the two banked over $125 million, not counting substantial independent expenditures that helped both men.

Not surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) raised more money than anyone else in the first three months of 2019 — some $7.991 million, exceeding Sen. Cornyn but by just over $200,000.

The low-end senator is rather surprising, since she is again likely headed for a competitive campaign. Posting numbers that would even be low for a US House race, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) raised only $232,239 for the quarter and has just $218,703 in the bank.

The senator is again expected to face former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi congressman, Mike Espy (D). The two battled each other in the 2018 special election, with Sen. Hyde-Smith prevailing 54-46 percent in the Nov. 27 run-off. Hyde-Smith was appointed to fill the balance of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term. Cochran resigned his seat due to health reasons.

All of the following figures are current through March 31, 2019, with the exception of four senators: Cory Booker (NJ), Mike Rounds (SD), Ben Sasse (NE), and Tina Smith (MN). It is probable all reports were filed, but the Federal Election Commission has not yet published their numbers. Sen. Booker’s 1st-quarter fundraising is for his presidential effort, which is unofficially reported to exceed $5 million.

Below are the financial numbers from the highest
cash-on-hand senator to the lowest:

 
STATE
 
INCUMBENT
CASH-ON-HAND
(MARCH 31, 2019)
TEXAS John Cornyn (R) $7,407,942
KENTUCKY Mitch McConnell (R) $5,569,222
SOUTH CAROLINA Lindsey Graham (R) $4,619,235
VIRGINIA Mark Warner (D) $4,155,337
MAINE Susan Collins (R) $3,807,811
MASSACHUSETTS Ed Markey (D) $3,536,133
LOUISIANA Bill Cassidy (R) $3,448,675
COLORADO Cory Gardner (R) $3,414,5
GEORGIA David Perdue (R) $3,282,091
ALABMA Doug Jones (D) $3,094,916
MICHIGAN Gary Peters (D) $3,056,598
NORTH CAROLINA Thom Tillis (R) $2,920,475
ARKANSAS Tom Cotton (R) $2,831,908
IOWA Joni Ernst (R) $2,815,962
MONTANA Steve Daines (R) $2,547,795
ILLINOIS Dick Durbin (D) $2,433,345
ARIZONA Martha McSally (R) $2,108,915
ALASKA Dan Sullivan (R) $2,042,051
OREGON Jeff Merkley (D) $1,902,741
RHODE ISLAND Jack Reed (D) $1,803,356
NEW HAMPSHIRE Jeanne Shaheen (D) $1,521,776
NEBRASKA Ben Sasse (R) $1,361,057*
NEW JERSEY Cory Booker (D) $1,340,448*
WEST VIRGINIA Shelley M. Capito (R) $1,201,127
IDAHO Jim Risch (R) $1,157,171
DELAWARE Chris Coons (D) $1,063,646
OKLAHOMA Jim Inhofe (R) $887,344
WYOMING Mike Enzi (R) $544,216
SOUTH DAKOTA Mike Rounds (R) $511,538*
MINNESOTA Tina Smith (D) $433,782*
MISSISSIPPI Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) $218,703

*1st Quarter figures not yet published; numbers are through Dec. 31, 2018 for Booker, Rounds, Sasse, T. Smith

The Senate (Presidential) Cash

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 11, 2018 — The Federal Election Commission just released the post-election campaign financial disclosure reports (through the period ending Nov. 26), and the information allows us to draw some interesting conclusions.

The most eye-opening dollar statistic comes from Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is reporting more than $3 million remaining in his campaign account after losing the closest statewide race in the country, a 9,763-vote loss (from over 8.19 million ballots cast) for the state’s governor’s seat, won by Rick Scott (R).

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) has twice that amount ($6,781,146) in her campaign account, but it became evident weeks before the election that she was doomed to defeat. Therefore, and considering her state has the population for only one congressional district, it is not as surprising that she would have a major post-election cash balance.

Additionally, we also include the amount of campaign money held in the accounts of those senators who are looking to enter the presidential campaign, or at least publicly not ruling out consideration of such.

Immediately below are the financial statistics for the closest 2018 Senate campaigns. Remembering that the campaigns all have post-election expenses, it is prudent that some money be held back to pay bills that present themselves after the official election cycle ends. We will see that most of these campaigns have kept a reasonable amount of money, though several have kept more than an average amount.

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With Media Focused on O’Rourke, Cruz Maintains Consistent Edge

By Jim Ellis

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) | Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) | Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso)

Oct. 25, 2018 — The Texas Senate race has become the premier political contest of this midterm election. With Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) becoming a national celebrity due to constant media attention, and now with record fundraising, this election has stretched beyond Texas and evolved into a national campaign.

Though the media continually promotes O’Rourke, extensive polling has only put him ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R) just once during the entire election cycle. Despite O’Rourke raising an eye-popping $38 million during the last quarter, an all-time record for any Senate race, Cruz’s margins are actually growing.

During this calendar year, 35 polls have been conducted of the Texas Senate race from 19 different polling firms. In only one, an online survey from Ipsos Reuters in early to mid-September (Sept. 6-14; 992 Texas respondents), did Rep. O’Rourke score an advantage over Sen. Cruz. In that poll, the El Paso congressman led 47-45 percent.

While Sen. Cruz held an advantage in the other 34 polls, his margin was typically small. His average support factor is 45.6 percent. He hits 50 percent or more in only 13 of the surveys. Rep. O’Rourke records an average of 41.1 percent and reaches 50 percent in one survey. While these numbers and margins clearly show weakness for an incumbent, as we pointed out when covering Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in similar columns earlier this week, Sen. Cruz is demonstrating growth as the early voting period begins and Election Day draws nearer in contrast to the others who appear to be losing momentum.

In the last 10 polls, covering the Oct. 1-21 period from 10 different pollsters, Sen. Cruz averages 50.2 percent preference and posts majority support in seven of the 10 studies. Rep. O’Rourke averages 45.2 percent, leads in none, and obviously never reaches 50 percent. While Cruz maintains a consistent edge, O’Rourke remains in position if not to score an upset, at least to record the best Democratic statewide percentage since 1990, which was the last time a Democratic candidate won a Texas statewide office.

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