NRSC and NRCC Fundraising Off to a Strong Start, But…

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised a massive $5.1 million last month, following a $4.2 million haul in January, as reported by The Hill yesterday. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has yet to release it’s February figures, but trailed Republicans in January. This piles on top of the impressive haul the National Republican Congressional Committee has raked in: $10.5 million in February, $10 million in January. Republicans, however, are now the incumbent party, and faces a midterm with that dynamic for the first time in twelve years. As ACHA continues to draw blowback, both from the left and the right, strong fundraisers will be critical, but no guarantee of protecting against blowback in 2018.

During the 2014 cycle, the NRSC raised $118.3 million, $50 million less than their Democratic counterpart. They still won nine seats, picking off seven incumbents in the process. The Senate Republicans are heading into a cycle that is generally favorable to them: only one member is up in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton, Dean Heller. Jeff Flake had a tough 2012 election and could potentially face a rough re-election if the winds blow favorably to the Democrats, but that’s about the current limit of vulnerability: seven other Republicans face re-election in states that voted by nine-to-thirty points for Donald Trump. Republicans are itching to pick off a few Democrats in “red” states, like Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. A total of twenty-five Democrats face the voters next year to the Republicans’ nine. But if the environment sours, defensive spending may take a bite out of those plans.

During the 2010 cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee out-raised their Republican counterparts $163.9 to $133.8 million, but the dam totally burst and they lost over sixty House seats and control of the chamber. More sobering for Republicans, their own Congressional arm raised $176.3 million in 2006 to the Democrats’ $140 million, and still lost control of the House. Superior fundraising doesn’t guarantee a superior outcome if the money isn’t spent wisely or a wave comes crashing down.