2) The Michigan GOP field: The biggest question mark for former Rep. Pete Hoekstra
after he entered the Senate race was whether he could raise money. After dialing down expectations, Hoekstra posted an unexpectedly strong $1 million+ figure for the quarter, putting to rest (for now, at least) the chatter about his inability to bring in the dough he needs to compete.
Hoekstra wasn't the only Republican to put up a surprisingly big number. Cornerstone Schools founder Clark Durant
raised $750,000, which is no small sum for someone who has not run for office in a long time.
Of course, Democrats like the idea of a bloody GOP priamry.
1) Consumer advocate/Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren
: The Democrat's enormous figure was the most impressive of the period. Her colossal $3.15 million raised in about six weeks easily outpaced Sen. Scott Brown
's, R-Mass., quarterly total of $1.55 million. Brown still has a lot of money in the bank ($10.5 million) but Warren's opening statement signals she'll be right there with him in 2012.
5) The New Mexico Underdogs: The open seat race in The Land Of Enchantment features two competitive primaries. In both races, the early frontrunners put some more financial distance between themselves and their main challengers.
GOP Lt. Gov. John Sanchez
raised just $164,000, ending the quarter with nearly $250,000 in the bank. That's well short of the $530,000 former Rep. Heather Wilson
brought in and the nearly $1 million in the bank she wrapped up with.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Martin Heinrich
raised over $650,000 and ended the quarter with more than $1.1 million in the bank. Underdog Hector Balderas
put up a surprisingly solid number in the second quarter, but the state auditor came back down to earth this time, raising only about $250,000 and finishing with over $465,000 in the bank.
4) Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock
: Mourdock has been no stranger to fundraising struggles in 2011 and his lackluster pace continued in the third quarter, when he raised just $438,000
, including $100,000 of his own money. The silver lining during the period for Mourdock is that he picked up some momentum in the form of endorsements from national conservative organizations. But if the nods don't translate to money, they won't mean much for Mourdock, who finished the period with less than 1/10th of what Sen. Richard Lugar
had in the bank.
3) Sen. Claire McCaskill
's, D-Mo., GOP opponents: GOP Rep. Todd Akin brought in just $285,000
and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman
raised a paltry $96,000 and loaned herself $400,000.
Meanwhile, McCaskill has another productive $1.2 million quarter. We'll find out at the end of the year how much self-funding GOP businessman John Brunner
is willing to do.
2) Sen. Dean Heller
, R-Nev.: Heller was nearly doubled up
by Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley
, who brought in $1.2 million to Heller's $675,000. Berkley also leads the cash on hand chase by about $400,000. For a sitting senator who last quarter was nearly even with Berkley in fundraising, it's a disappointing showing.
1) Sen. Bill Nelson
's, D-Fla., GOP opponents: Polls have shown most GOP voters have yet to coalesce around any of the GOP contenders. The candidates' third quarter numbers won't have voters rushing to any of the campaigns' corners.
After raising nearly seven figures in the second quarter, former Sen. George LeMieux brought in just
$403,000 this time around. Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner
raised more -- $535,000 -- and finished with $786,000 in the bank, but his haul was less than what he brought in last quarter and doesn't stack up well against the $1.9 million Nelson raised and the $7.5 million the incumbent has in the bank. Also recall that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos
dropped out in mid-July, freeing up his donors to move elsewhere. It's not clear yet where they're headed.