Many of the first-quarter fundraising numbers have been released, and it looks like the Democrats are doing pretty well. Despite the general malaise that grips many Democrats across the country, their fundraising appears to be resilient. Their numbers were better than I thought they would be, especially when compared with the GOP’s. Is the Republican Party overestimating its own strength and underestimating the strength of its opponents? It would appear that the Democrats are not going down without a fight. Blah.
Anyway, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $8.1 million in March, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised about $6.3 million. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it pulled in more than $10 million in March, and that’s impressive. Despite all the hypocritical whining about outside spending from the Democrats and their allies in the media, the AP reports that currently, Democrats seem to have a 3-1 advantage over Republicans “in cash raised and banked by independent groups,” although the story acknowledges that “that balance of power could quickly change” as more fundraising reports flow in up to the Sunday deadline.
I always say, give me the bad news — good news has a way of taking care of itself. Well, here’s some bad news for Republicans: Taking control of the Senate is the only real contest in November, and the fundraising numbers posted by two Democratic senatorial candidates — Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn in Georgia — are particularly worrisome.
Grimes needs two things to have a chance at beating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky): big money and a little luck. By many accounts, Grimes is not an able campaigner, so she can’t count on the retail politics of pressing the flesh and generating a positive public buzz. She needs a near-perfect ad campaign. And the luck she needs could come in several forms. First, she hopes McConnell will be beaten in the Republican primary by Matt Bevin on May 20. But so far, McConnell seems to be in control of that contest. That probably means Grimes needs a major McConnell mistake or gaffe to give her a chance of winning — and while that doesn’t seem likely from the surefooted McConnell, in politics, you never know.
Michelle Nunn, the daughter of iconic former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, is the best possible candidate the Democrats could have in Georgia in a year like this. She doesn’t have a record to defend, she has a beloved name and she has enough of a Democratic base to be viable in an otherwise tough year. And now, she has money rolling in — which will attract even more money. Meanwhile, the GOP nomination battle in Georgia won’t be resolved until the Republican primary on May 20 — and, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote then, Republicans won’t have a nominee until after the runoff election on July 22. By then, the Republican nominee will be out of cash and limping into the general election. But remember, President Obama received only 45 percent of the vote in Georgia in the 2012 election, and he is currently radioactive — big time — in the state. Nunn will run, but it remains to be seen if she can hide from the president and the downdraft he is creating for the Democratic ticket this year.
Democrats will rightly celebrate their first-quarter fundraising advantage, but they are going to need an even larger pile of money to help them climb over the mountain built by an unpopular, faltering president and the Frankenstein of a health-care system the Democrats have created through Obamacare.
Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC