By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 20, 2023
Financials: What the Numbers Show — The Daily Kos Elections website compiled the just-released second quarter Federal Election Commission campaign financial disclosure summaries for the in-cycle Senate races, and the funding reports again tell many interesting stories.
One of the first clues analysts consider is whether the quarter fundraising suggests retirement possibilities. One 2024 total, in particular, stands out as a strong possibility.
Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who has been in elective office consecutively since 1967 when counting his service in the Maryland House of Delegates, the US House, and the Senate, raised only $14,000 in the 2nd Quarter. He still maintains just under $1 million in his campaign account, however. Sen. Cardin, who will be 81 years old at the time of the next election and says he will announce his 2024 political plans shortly, now looks to be a strong retirement possibility.
Just to the north, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (D) is also mentioned as a retirement prospect. He raised only $193,000 in the 2nd Quarter but has just over $600,000 in the bank. In an at-large state, his financial situation is not particularly low. Still, at 77 years of age at the time of the next election and having been in elective office for 47 consecutive years, retirement is certainly a possibility.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R) has also not been a proactive fundraiser, attracting only $111,000 within the quarter just ended. His cash-on-hand figure of $604,000 is also low, but Sen. Romney has the ability to raise a great deal of money in a short period, and has already filed a 2024 campaign committee with the FEC. He says he will make a final decision about whether to seek a second term “during the summer.”
A senator who has been coy about her 2024 plans is Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party in December to become an Independent. Some believed there was a question about whether she would seek re-election but seeing a $2 million 2nd Quarter and just under $10 million cash-on-hand strongly suggests that the first-term Grand Canyon State senator will compete for re-election.
The most active 2nd Quarter fundraisers were Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) at $15.5 million reported raised, but that figure includes an $11 million transfer from her existing US House committee. Her opponent in the open California Senate race, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), is the second-most prolific fundraiser, with $6.5 million in reported 2nd Quarter income.
Following are Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT; $5.0 million), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ; $3.7M), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH; $3.5M), Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI; $3.0M), and Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV; $2.4M), Christopher Murphy (D-CT; $2.3M), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI; $2.1M), and Sinema ($2.0M).
Another key factor to determine accurate financial standing relates to the ratio between cash-on-hand and expenditures. The median percentage of dollars on-hand to dollars spent is 74.1 percent, which directly relates to Maine Sen. Angus King (I). The Senate candidate with the best cash-on-hand to expenditure ratio is Rep. Schiff at 316.5 percent. The second strongest non-incumbent in this category is Indiana GOP Rep. Jim Banks (182.4 percent dollars raised over dollars spent).
The candidates who have spent the most in relation to dollars in the bank begin with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R). While he has raised over $32 million campaign-to-date, only $3.3 million remains in his account for an on-hand to spent ratio of just 10.1 percent. Other big spenders, meaning their cash-on-hand is low compared to their campaign-to-date dollars raised are: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA; 22.0 percent), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN; 25.8 percent), Josh Hawley (R-MO; 28.4 percent), Baldwin (33.5 percent), and Carper (34.5 percent).
To equalize the cash-on-hand figures, it is best to divide the total CoH figures by the number of congressional districts that lie in each senator or candidate’s particular state.
Under this formula, at-large Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) has the most in his account at $9.7 million to cover a statewide constituency the size of one CD. We also see another at-large senator in the second-best position, Wyoming’s John Barrasso (R-$5.0 million CoH).
Rounding out the list of senators who have campaign treasuries above $1 million for every one of their commensurate congressional districts are: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV; $4.8 million), Tester ($3.5), Rosen ($1.5), Murphy ($1.2), and Sinema ($1.1).
Though Rep. Gallego outraised Sen. Sinema in Arizona, $3.7 million to $2.0 million, her cash-on-hand per the state’s nine congressional districts paints a different picture. Sen. Sinema has enough money to spend $1.1 million in each CD, while Rep. Gallego, if he is to become one of her two general election opponents, would have only $304,000 at this point in time.
While Missouri Senate challenger Lucas Kunce (D) outraised Sen. Hawley, $1.1 million in the 2nd Quarter to $585,000, the incumbent maintains the overall advantage. The senator’s cash-on-hand to congressional district ratio is $505,000 individually per Missouri’s eight CDs compared to just $87,000 for Kunce.
While fundraising and cash-on-hand doesn’t tell the complete political story for any campaign situation, the dollar figures continue to reveal a sizable amount of telling information.