With three weeks to go until Election Day, Republicans are desperately trying to hold onto their majority in the Senate, but they’re facing a massive fundraising deficit against their Democratic challengers.
The fundraising figures reported in recent days by Democratic challengers are staggering.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper – who’s challenging Republican Sen. Cory Gardner – hauled in $22.6 million in the July-Sept. third quarter of fundraising. Cal Cunningham – the Democrat challenging GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina – brought in $28.3 million during the past quarter despite a recent sex scandal. And Theresa Greenfield, the Democratic challenger taking on Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, raised $28.7 million the past three months.
In South Carolina, Democratic Senate nominee Jaime Harrison hauled in an eye-popping and record-shattering $57 million the past three months as he aims to take out Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“My opponent will raise $100 million,” Graham predicted three weeks ago on “Fox and Friends.”
“I'm being killed financially. This money is cause they hate my guts,” emphasized Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a one-time critic of President Trump who’s now a close ally of the president.
Democrats have been posting massive fundraising figures all year as they try to win back a chamber for the first time in six years.
But Jessica Taylor, who closely tracks and reports on Senate races for the nonpartisan political handicapper The Cook Report, told Fox News that “we’re seeing just mammoth fundraising numbers.”
“This money is indicative of a lot of enthusiasm on the Democratic side, it’s sort of the same warning signs that we saw in 2018 when Democrats were able to take back the House of Representatives,” Taylor highlighted.
The GOP controls the Senate 53-47, but are defending 23 of the 35 seats up for grabs this year. And Republicans are defending 8 of the top 10 competitive races with a good chance of flipping.
“Money’s not necessarily determinative in every race, but it’s hard to imagine a worse scenario for Republicans to find themselves in than the one currently in front of them,” a GOP official said bluntly.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News that “the financial advantage on a candidate level is very significant. Republican outside groups have done their best to offset some of those advantages for the Democrats but, coupled with national political environment that is harder to navigate for Republicans, it’s a challenge that most candidates would rather not face.”
While pro-Republican outside groups – such as super PACs – are trying to make up for the fundraising deficit, they’re at a disadvantage because campaigns get cheaper advertising rates, so the money candidates raise goes a lot further.
The cash advantage for the Democrats is not for a lack of effort by Republicans. Both the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the re-election arm of the Senate GOP, and the Senate Leadership Fund, the top outside group backing Senate Republicans, have broken their own fundraising records. But Republicans lament that the GOP donor base is not nearly as energized as the Democrats’ base.
Taylor emphasized that “the Democrats are the clear favorite to flip control of the Senate.”
She spoke to Fox News minutes after the Cook Report moved three Senate races in favor of the Democrats. They switched Texas and Alaska from likely Republican to lean Republican and moved the special election in Georgia from lean Republican to toss-up.
“This sort of money flood we are seeing, really a green wave, a green tsunami, is a big reason why we moved some of these races and we upped our current project today from Democrats winning 2-6 seats to winning 2-7 seats,” Taylor explained.