As the midterm elections get more heated, passionate grassroots donors are opening their wallets to Democrats campaigning against President Trump and the GOP in their quest to take the House.
At least 22 Democratic House candidates raised more than a million dollars in the second quarter of 2018, according to an analysis by National Journal’s Hotline of recently-field Federal Election Commission data. Most of the candidates are challenging Republican incumbents or open-seat hopefuls.
Among those Democratic challengers is Air Force veteran M.J. Hegar, a former combat helicopter pilot who’s giving seven-term Texas Republican John Carter his toughest race ever. After posting a viral biographical video, Hegar reported raising $1.6 million; Carter, slightly less than $1 million.
At least eight House Republican candidates raised at least a million apiece in the second quarter. They’re all incumbents fighting back against the perceived Democratic tide.
In New Jersey, four-term Republican Leonard Lance has raised $1.5 million, but Democrat Tom Malinowski, formerly a high-level Obama appointee in the State Department, has taken in $2.3 million.
While Democrats have an energetic base funding their candidates, Republicans are also relying upon deep-pocketed superPACs that don’t need to follow contribution limits so long as they don’t coordinate their activities with candidates.
Lance’s race has been targeted by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a superPAC linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan, that has raised $51 million in the second quarter, more than its grand total for the 2016 election cycle. Overall, CLF has put field operatives into 34 races around the country.
One incumbent who isn’t on CLF’s to-do list is Virginia Republican Dave Brat, a conservative who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014. Now his fundraising lags slightly behind that of Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative. At the filing deadline, she had raised $1.35 million, about $30,000 more than Brat.
Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take control the House. So far this month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has shifted 14 districts in favor of Democrats, with just one going the other direction.