The battle for the Senate may not reach its climax until November of 2020, but the deadline for fundraising reports on October 15th gives us some good indicators for which side has the edge right now – and it is largely a mixed bag.
Republican candidates outraised the Democrats in two key races, including Michigan, where GOP Army veteran John James outraised Democratic Senator Gary Peters, and in Colorado, where GOP Senator Cory Gardner narrowly outraised former Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper. On the flip side, GOP Senator Martha McSally was swamped in Arizona by Democrat Mark Kelly and GOP Senator Susan Collins was also outraised.
Kelly’s numbers are driven by his connections to the gun control lobby – his wife is Gabby Giffords – so while McSally was outraised, her numbers were still good. They just pale in comparison to the endless stream of anti-2nd amendment cash. Collins also did well, but the media has taken pains to vilify her for taking the decisive vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The second tier races also feature deadlock, but mostly along predictable lines.
In North Carolina, GOP Senator Thom Tillis outraised former Democratic State Senator Cal Cunningham, but he also faces a primary from businessman Garland Tucker, and may need to use some of his war chest to fend it off. Trump has endorsed Tillis, so Tucker is unlikely to win the primary.
Across the border in Georgia, GOP Senator David Perdue outraised Democrat Jon Ossoff, who has no real claim to fame outside of losing the most expensive special election in history. And in contrast to North Carolina, Ossoff is not the clear frontrunner to face Perdue, meaning the eventual nominee will probably emerge with little cash and little chance to make the race competitive.
On the Democratic side, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen raised a lot more than the top GOP fundraiser, which was actually veteran Corky Messner. Retired General Don Bolduc, who was seen as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, raised only $250,000, which puts his frontrunner status in doubt.
Finally, in Minnesota, Democratic Senator Tina Smith significantly outraised GOP ex-Congressman Jason Lewis. Beating Smith is a reach, and Lewis isn’t doing well enough in the cash race to make the race more competitive just yet.
For context on the fundraising totals, these are my current Senate race ratings for 2020. Several races rated as Likely R are more precautions due to the possibility of problematic candidates, such as in Kris Kobach in Kansas and Roy Moore in Alabama.
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