Elizabeth Warren, Ron Paul and ‘supercommittee’ members big winners in the third-quarter fundraising wars
By Aaron Blake,
Candidates for House, Senate and president had to file third-quarter fundraising reports by midnight Saturday.
The reports are currently being combed all over Washington for signs of strength and weakness, as parties and pundits try to discern who is assembling legitimate and well-funded campaigns, and who are the pretenders.
Which is where The Fix comes in.
Below the jump is our look at who the big winners and losers are for the third quarter.
* President Obama: The $43 million the president raised for his campaign committee is nearly as much as all of his potential GOP opponents combined. The president continues to rake in huge bucks, and his dominance is even more obvious when compared to the so-so performances of his GOP opponents, none of which even racked up half the president’s haul.
* Ron Paul: As the second-tier of the GOP presidential race continues to struggle to raise and bank money (see below), Paul continues to prosper. The Texas congressman had his best fundraising quarter as a presidential candidate, raising $8 million, and he used that money to blanket the early states with some very strong advertising.
* Candidates with Obama ties: Between Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s astounding $3.15 million raised, Illinois House candidate Tammy Duckworth’s (former Veterans Affairs official) $477,000, and Iowa House candidate Christie Vilsack’s (wife of Obama agriculture secretary Tom) $335,000, it was good to have ties to the president.
* Iowa: Vilsack’s haul was one of a few that shows it pays to be a House candidate in the state that holds the country’s first presidential nomination contest. GOP Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King raised $346,000 and $400,000, respectively. King faces Vilsack, while Latham is running against Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) in a merged district (Boswell raised just $144,000). And Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is expected to run for Senate one day, hauled in $282,000.
* David Dewhurst (R): We’ve been waiting for a while for the Texas lieutenant governor to take the plunge and run for Senate, and his first quarter as a candidate shows what that he is indeed a game-changer. He raised $2.6 million and contributed another $2 million to his campaign, while former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert’s (R) fundraising continued to dropoff ($640,000 raised, $500,000 from his own pocket). Former solicitor general Ted Cruz (R) had a pretty good quarter, with $1.1 million raised, but neither he nor Leppert will compete financially with Dewhurst, who is very wealthy and very well-connected.
* Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): The longtime senator is taking nothing for granted, even as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) passed on challenging him for the Republican nomination. Hatch raised $1.6 million in the third quarter – more than all but one other vulnerable Senate incumbent. Democrats are trying to get Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) in this race. But Hatch would start the race with an eight-to-one edge in cash-on-hand thanks to his strong fundraising.
* Pete Hoekstra: The former GOP congressman proved his critics wrong, at least for one quarter. Knocked as a poor fundraiser, he pulled in $1 million for his run at Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Now he just needs to keep it up in an expensive state – and ward off a well-funded primary challenger in Clark Durant (R) ($750,000 raised).
* Jon Bruning : The Nebraska Senate candidate’s $584,000 raised isn’t great, but it’s significantly more than any of his primary opponents AND more than was raised by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). With questions perking up about his status as the GOP frontrunner, this was a good quarter for the attorney general.
* Joaquin Castro (D): Expected to be hearing more about this Texas state representative, who pulled in more than $470,000 and outraised primary opponent Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) by $100,000. Doggett still has a huge cash advantage, with $3.3 million in the bank, but this race in a majority-Hispanic district is looking very interesting.
* Ann McLane Kuster: The Democratic attorney has routinely outraised Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), going all the way back to their 2010 matchup, so it probably shouldn’t surprise us that she pulled in $359,000 to Bass’s $147,000. But that’s a big gap.
* Rob Cornilles: The GOP’s candidate in the Oregon special election raised a very strong $505,000. Could the race for former Rep. David Wu’s (D-Ore.) seat be the next special election to turn out to be surprisingly competitive? Democratic state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici raised $400,000 and dipped into her own pockets to raise another $200,000.
* Supercommittee members: The three House GOP members of the debt reduction supercommittee – Reps. Dave Camp (Mich.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas) – all raised at least $400,000 and were among the top 25 fundraisers in the House.
* The GOP presidential race’s lower-tier: Beyond Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Paul, no other Republican presidential candidate had more than $1.3 million in the bank at the end of the third quarter. Three of the five remaining candidates – Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman – have significnat cash flow problems. Herman Cain may be experiencing a fundraising surge, but he didn’t have much going as of Sept. 30.
* Missouri Republican Party: Republicans in the state’s Senate and governor’s races continue to struggle big time, despite running in very winnable races. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) outraised Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) $1.5 million to $410,000, while GOP Senate candidates Rep. Todd Akin and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman raised $285,000 and $95,000, respectively – well off the pace set by Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) $1.2 million. Steelman needed to donate $400,00 to her own race in order to stay viable.
* Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.): As a Senate appointee facing a well-connected and well-funded House member in Rep. Shelley Berkley, $675,000 just wasn’t a good quarter for Heller. He already has less cash-on-hand than Berkley, who pulled in $1.2 million.
* Hispanic Senate candidates in New Mexico: State Auditor Hector Balderas (D) was outraised $650,000 to $250,000 by Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R) was outraised $530,000 to $161,000 by ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (R). Both primaries are potentially competitive, but the fundraising races are not right now.
* Florida Republicans: The Florida GOP’s Senate candidates all raised less than $550,000, while Sen. Bill Nelson (D) raised $2 million. And at the House level, GOP freshmen Reps. Daniel Webster, Steve Southerland and David Rivera all had bad quarters, with Rivera and Webster getting outraised.
* North Carolina Democrats: Reps. Brad Miller (D) and Heath Shuler (D) got some bad draws from the GOP-drafted redistricting map. And with both continuing to put off fundraising (each raised less than $100,000 for the quarter), we wonder if they’re even interested in seeking re-election.
* Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.): Facing a primary with Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Sherman got outraised $819,000 to $174,000. Sherman’s large advantage in cash-on-hand is quickly disappearing.