Follow the Money

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 24, 2017 — The 3rd Quarter Federal Election Commission US House disclosure reports are available, and they provide valuable clues as to which campaigns could become first-tier efforts next year. The Daily Kos Elections Page once again completed their quarterly analysis, which became the major source for this column.

federal-elections-commission-logoThirty-five incumbents and two challengers have already raised more than $1 million for the current election cycle. Another seven (six incumbents; one challenger) have crossed the $900,000 mark in current cycle receipts.

Most of the million-dollar incumbents are in projected competitive primary or general election campaigns.

Arizona two-term incumbent Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) is again raising and spending huge amounts in the early going. She has gathered $2.8 million, a great deal of which comes through expensive direct mail, hence her cash-on-hand total is $1.453 million. Her potential leading Democratic opponent, former 1st District Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) who has re-located to Tucson in order to challenge McSally, is showing only $269,000 on hand in comparison, but that is the largest amount among the five Democrats filing disclosure reports in this district.

California congressional candidates have been very active on the fundraising trail, with five joining the $1 million club and three more breaking the $900,000 total.

One of the latter is a challenger, Democratic attorney Mark Levin ($905,000 raised/$530,000 on hand), who is opposing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista). Two other Democrats are also in this race, including retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate who held Issa to a 50.3 percent win total making it the closest congressional contest in the country last year. For his part, Applegate has currently raised $654,000 with $263,000 remaining in his account. Rep. Issa, too, topped the $1 million threshold, raising $1.088 million and has over $852,000 in his campaign account.

Other California incumbents to exceed $1 million are: Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock/Modesto), just under $1.4 million with over $1.584 million on hand; Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), $1.326 million/$1.122 million; Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), $1.752 million/ $3.455 million; and Gary Peters (D-San Diego), $1.158 million/1.987 million. Reps. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento), $964,000/$829,000, and David Valadao (R-Bakersfield), $944,000/$863,000 are the two other California candidates who broke through the $900,000 level in campaign receipts.

Both Florida and Illinois saw four incumbent candidates apiece break the $1 million mark:

• Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park): $1.017 million raised/$701,000 cash-on-hand
• Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg): $1.705 million raised/$1.431 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Brian Mast (R-Palm City): $1.435 million raised/$921,000 cash-on-hand
• Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami): $1.473 million raised/$1.352 million cash-on-hand

• Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton): $1.915 million raised/$1.351 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield): $1.39 million raised/$1.425 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville): $1.139 million raised/$1.022 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline): $1.334 million raised/2.363 million cash-on-hand

Kansas four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park), who represents a district Hillary Clinton carried last year and dropped to a 51 percent winning percentage, obtained $1.235 million for the election cycle with just over $1.4 million in the bank. To the southeast, three-term Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) topped $1.06 million with $1.307 million in his campaign account and likely faces an eventual Democratic opponent who will likely become a major Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) national target.

Maine sophomore Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Oakland/Bangor), who spent almost $3.4 million in winning re-election last November, is again on a torrid fundraising pace. He has already exceeded $1.6 million in dollars raised, with $1.523 million remaining in his campaign account. He’ll need it, too; Poliquin’s likely general election opponent is environmental activist Lucas St. Clair (D), who is heir to the Burt’s Beeswax company co-founder. St. Clair has not officially opened a campaign account; therefore, he was not required to file a disclosure report at the end of September.

Veteran Michigan Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) may be dropping a clue that speculation about him challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is serious. Rep. Upton topped the $1 million mark, raising $1.081 million and holds $1.123 million in his campaign account.

The two challengers raising more than $1 million are Upstate New York attorney Antonio Delgado ($1.053 million/$881,000) who is challenging freshman Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), and Wisconsin’s Randy Bryce ($1.460 million/$1.031 million) who hopes to unseat Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) next year. Bryce will need much more than his current treasury balance. The Speaker reports a cash-on-hand total greater than $10.4 million.

The candidate with the biggest gap between dollars raised and cash-on-hand is Utah Rep. Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs). She has brought in more than $1.027 million, but shows only $311,000 remaining in the account. National direct mail fundraising largely explains the high expenditure total.

The members listed below have already exceeded $1 million in total cycle receipts and maintain more than $1 million cash-on-hand:
• Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ): $2.171 million raised/$2.002 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO): $1.903 million raised/$3.318 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): $1.530 million raised/$1.169 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN): $1.483 million raised/$1.248 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH): $1.271 million raised/$2.007 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA): $1.228 million raised/$1.186 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA): $1.025 million raised/$2.464 million cash-on-hand
• Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX): $1.161 million raised/$1.183 million cash-on-hand

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