Money is flooding the race for control of Congress more than a year early

Money is flooding the race for control of Congress more than a year early

More than a year before the 2022 elections, a staggering amount of money is pouring into the battles for the House of Representatives and the Senate, as Republicans are optimistic about their chances of taking over both chambers in the first midterm elections under President Joe Biden, given the tight margins the Democrats in power.

Read more on Money is flooding the race for control of Congress more than a year early…

More than a year before the 2022 elections, a staggering amount of money is pouring into the battles for the House of Representatives and the Senate, as Republicans are optimistic about their chances of taking over both chambers in the first midterm elections under President Joe Biden, given the tight margins the Democrats in power.

The two parties’ major war coffers for the House of Representatives total $ 128 million – more than double what it was at this point in the 2020 cycle and far surpassing any previous one. Top House members are now raising $ 1 million or more per quarter. And more than two dozen senators and Senate candidates have crossed that threshold.

Candidate after candidate and the parties themselves are posting record-breaking sums, even if most House districts across the country remain in flux due to delays in the decades-long redrawing of borders.

In Georgia, Senator Rhael Warnock, a Democrat, raised more than $ 100,000 a day for $ 9.5 million for the past three months. But his leading Republican rival, Herschel Walker, the ex-soccer player who was urged to run for election by former President Donald Trump, raised $ 3.7 million in just over a month and set up a potentially painful and expensive competition in this key state .

Politicians from both parties are furiously racing to expand their online donor base while wooing large checks from wealthy benefactors. At a Senate Republican large donor retreat in Palm Beach, Florida last week, Trump’s presence was a reminder of his continued position at the center of the Republican Party – both in attracting donations and in derailing any embassies, the party activists have designed.

“The donor community is aware that the Republican Party has a historic opportunity in 2022, despite Trump continuing to talk about 2020,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist.

Money alone is rarely decisive in political competitions, especially when both parties are overflowing with cash. But the spate of political funding detailed by House and Senate candidates in Friday’s Federal Electoral Commission reports and announced by the parties shows the growing stake in U.S. elections where a single upturned Senate seat indicates trillions of dollars May move federal spending.

The country’s increasingly polarized electorate has been heavily involved in politics since the beginning of the Trump era, and the ease of channeling that energy into online donations is transforming the way campaigns are funded. The two party’s online donation clearinghouses, ActBlue and WinRed, combined processed more than $ 450 million in the third quarter.

The cash avalanche could widen the political battlefield in 2022 and lead to a relentless advertising wave aimed at Americans living in swing districts and states.

In fact, the advertising wars have already started. Democratic and Republican affiliated groups are spending millions of dollars on public opinion on the spending package currently being debated in Congress.

Among them is a Biden-sponsored nonprofit group, Building Back Together, which claims to have spent nearly $ 15 million on television advertising in more than two dozen House districts and key states since July. Last week, a Republican-sponsored nonprofit group, One Nation, announced it was launching a $ 10 million advertising campaign and putting up three Democratic senators standing for re-election in 2022 – in Nevada, Arizona and New Hampshire to oppose the expense package.

All in all, more than $ 70 million has been spent on television advertising related to Biden’s legislative agenda since September 1, according to AdImpact, a media tracking company.

Historically, the party in power has done well in the first mid-term elections for a new president, and Republicans see rising inflation, missteps in Afghanistan and a weakening of Biden’s Proval rating as reasons for a sunny 2022 outlook.

“We really have to screw it up to lose the House of Representatives,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, referring to the slim majority of Democrats in that chamber.

He said the reorganization of the Senate, which consists of 50 Republicans and 50 members of the Democratic Group, would depend on recruiting more senior Republicans like New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.

At the Florida donor retreat, Graham said, “It was an optimism as great as I’ve seen it.”

In the House of Representatives, it is widely expected that the path to a majority will be determined by suburban voters who leaned heavily in the direction of the Democratic Party during the Trump administration.

Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist who worked on House election campaigns, noted that the central role of the suburbs – the battlefields were more rural 15 years ago – drove up the cost of the campaign. Buying ads to reach voters in the suburbs requires advertising in more expensive urban TV markets.

“The advantage is that the democratic coalition is built around suburbs,” said Ferguson. “The downside is the resources for Philadelphia and Chicago and LA and Miami.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee started this year at around $ 8 million less than its Democratic counterpart, but went into October at around $ 2 million more as small digital contributions for Republicans accelerated. Each group raised well over $ 100 million this year.

Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the Republican congressional committee, stated in a phone call with reporters that his 2020 cycle party committee had only reached the $ 100 million mark in February – five months later.

Both the Senate and House Republican campaign committees have relied on harsh and sometimes deceptive tactics to increase their bottom line, such as pre-checking boxes, automatically signing up donors for recurring monthly dues, and aggressively promoting feelings of guilt among supporters and theirs Question loyalty.

“You’re a traitor…” began such a House GOP text last week. “You left Trump.”

The text gave an incorrect deadline of 17 minutes for the donation.

“This is your last chance to prove your loyalty or to be branded a deserter,” it said.

The House of Representatives GOP committee, unwilling to comment on his tactics, said he raised nearly 44% of his funds online last quarter.

“Democrats have been fundraising online and that is no longer true,” said former MP Tom Davis, who previously headed the House of Representatives Republican campaign arm. “The Republicans are now the ones who are obsessed and aroused. People voted for Biden to get Trump out of their living rooms. But they didn’t vote for all of his guidelines. “

Most Republican strategists hope to keep the focus on the Democrats, knowing that voters usually want to control those in power. But Trump’s continued insistence on making his false claims that the 2020 elections were stolen is a key rally for the GOP – “If we don’t solve the 2020 presidential election fraud,” Trump warned in a statement last week, “the Republicans are not going to vote in ’22 or ’24’ – is an aggravating factor.

“If it’s a referendum on Biden’s policy, we’ll do very well,” said Graham of the 2022 midterm elections. “If it’s a review, if it’s a complaint campaign, we could get into trouble.”

Emmer tried to distance himself from Trump’s statements by saying: “He is a private citizen and of course he has a right to his own opinion.” Still, Emmer added that he was “honored” that the former president would headline the committee’s fundraising dinner this fall.

“He remains the main attraction in our party,” he said.

Congress leaders are the other leading party fundraisers. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican minority leader, and his senior deputy, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, have collectively transferred nearly $ 30 million to their party committees this year, party officials said.

Scalise’s largest donations since July included $ 105,000 from Koch Industries’ PAC; $ 125,000 from H. Fisk Johnson, chairman of SC Johnson & Son; and $ 66,300 from John W. Childs, the private equity magnate.

Whether this is the last term of the 81-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is widely debated in Washington. But the San Francisco Democrat remains a prolific fundraiser.

Some of the backers to her political accounts in recent months include Haim Saban, the media investor ($ 263,400); Hamilton James, a top Blackstone executive ($ 263,000); Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer, the Cargill heiress ($ 263,400); and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer ($ 163,400).

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, has raised heavily both for his own re-election bid in New York in 2022 and for maintaining a Democratic majority.

Schumer has been aggressively pressuring top party fundraisers over the past few months, telling you that he wanted to fill his war chest (now $ 31.9 million) to deter any primary leftist challenge. He specifically named New York MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the type of candidate he wants to keep from running, largely to avoid weakening his hand while navigating the evenly-divided Senate.

Schumer’s office declined to comment.

Notably, some of the top fundraisers in both parties are black.

These include Warnock, who is the top Democratic fundraiser alongside Congressional leaders, and Walker, a leading Republican in the running for the Georgia Senate. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, was the party’s main fundraiser alongside congressional leaders.

Scott raised $ 8.3 million in the third quarter. He now has $ 18.8 million in the bank, funds that can be used for his re-election in 2022 or for a possible 2024 presidential run.

Rep. Val Demings, a black Florida Democrat and former Orlando Police Chief, challenges Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican incumbent, and was another top fundraiser that raised $ 8.4 million. But she spent a lot on it: $ 5.6 million.

Florida has proven elusive for Democratic candidates, especially in recent years, and some party strategists are already quietly grumbling about the tens of millions – if not more – that are likely to flow into a tough race, especially after hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to lose 2020 efforts to overthrow Republican incumbents in Maine, Iowa, North Carolina, and South Carolina.