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First-quarter fundraising winners and losers

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Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010; 10:49 AM

First quarter fundraising winners and losers

Yesterday was the official deadline for federal candidates to file their first quarter fundraising reports -- detailing their donations and expenditures for the first three months of 2010. With so many reports flooding in and what's contained in them likely to affect races around the country, we thought we'd dedicate our Morning Fix to a look at the early winners and losers from the first filing quarter. Away we go!

WINNERS

Pat Toomey: Toomey, the former congressman turned Club for Growth president turned Senate candidate, has been one of the most surprisingly strong fundraising performers of the 2010 election cycle. Between Jan. 1 and March 31 he collected a whopping $2.3 million although his cash on hand total -- $4 million -- was slightly less impressive. With two new polls showing him ahead of Sen. Arlen Specter (D), Toomey has to be riding high.

Robin Carnahan: After a strong fundraising start to her Senate campaign, Carnahan, Missouri's secretary of state, watched as Rep. Roy Blunt (R) surged past her in the cash dash. But, Carnahan reclaimed some of that ground over the past three months -- raising $1.5 million to Blunt's $1.3 million. Blunt still has a cash on hand edge of over a half million dollars but Carnahan proved in the last three months that she will be very competitive financially.

Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor raised $1.5 million through his federal PAC and six-affiliated state PACS, a total that dwarfed the cash collection of potential 2012 rivals like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ($556,000 raised) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin ($401,000).

Ami Bera: House Democrats don't have many chances to play offense across the country this fall but Bera, who is running against California Rep. Dan Lungren (R), is clearly a bright spot. Bera, a doctor, raked in $385,000 in the first three months of the year, closing the period with $977,000 in the bank. Lungren, by contrast, ended March with $650,000 in the bank.

Tom Ganley: The Ohio auto dealer who switched from the Senate race to a House bid earlier this year loaned his campaign $2 million in the first quarter of the year, an eye-popping total made all the more impressive when compared to the measly $281,000 Rep. Betty Sutton (D) had on hand at the end of last month.

Mark Kirk: Since winning his March primary with surprising ease, Kirk, a Republican who currently represents Illinois' 10th district, has done everything right in his bid for the seat being vacated by appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D). Kirk raised $2.2 million in the quarter -- roughly $1 million more than state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D). Kirk also has more than double Giannoulias's cash on hand number.

RGA: The Republican Governors Association started April with $31 million in the bank -- four million more than the entire budget for the committee in the 2006 election cycle. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the RGA, is taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded to him by Mark Sanford's implosion -- collecting record sums of cash and building chits if and when he decides to run for president in 2012. (The Democratic Governors Association has performed well in its own right, ending March with $22 million on hand.)

LOSERS

Lee Fisher: There's no serious Senate candidate in the country who has performed worse on the fundraising front than Fischer, Ohio's Democratic lieutenant governor, who brought in a meager $551,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31, ending last month with $1.8 million in the bank. Lucky for Fisher, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner -- his primary opponent on May 4 -- has also proved incapable of raising any serious money. If Fisher wins the primary (and he should), he needs to solve his fundraising problems immediately. Former Rep. Rob Portman (R) raised $2.35 million in the first three months of 2010 and had $7.6 million in the bank.

Dan Coats: Coats, a former Indiana Senator seeking to reclaim his seat this fall, should walk away with the Republican nomination on May 4 but the $379,000 he collected since entering the race in early February doesn't make a terribly convincing case for him. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who will be the Democrats' nominee to replace retiring Sen. Evan Bayh, brought in a far stronger $625,000 over the past three months and closed the quarter with $1 million on hand.

Charlie Crist: Even as former state House speaker Marco Rubio turned into a national star over the past six months, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist always had his massive fundraising capacity to fall back on. No more. In the first three months of the year, Crist raised $1.1 million while Rubio brought in a stunning $3.6 million. While Crist still has a cash-on-hand advantage, the trend line is very worrisome for the governor. And, with the resignation of former senator Connie Mack (R) as his campaign chairman, it's looking increasingly likely that Crist won't be running for the GOP Senate nod much longer.

Tom Marino: Marino, a former U.S. attorney, entered the race against Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Carney (D) to much fanfare. In his first three months of active fundraising, however, Marino raised just $111,000 and banked $74,000. Carney, on the other hand, ended the quarter with $665,000 in the bank.

Larry Kissell: For a freshman Democrat sitting in a swing seat in North Carolina, Kissell isn't doing much to ensure he doesn't get dragged under if a national GOP wave starts building. He raised a paltry $72,000 and banked just $326,000 at the end of March.


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