During the third quarter this year, Democratic Senate candidates won the fundraising battle overall, with several of its candidates (Warren, Kaine, Baldwin) posting exceptional totals down the home stretch. It's become a near-necessity to remain at financial parity, especially with GOP outside groups spending heavily in most of the competitive races.
But several other leading Democratic nominees (Berkley, Casey, Donnelly) failed to keep pace, casting a shadow over their campaigns.
Here are our complete list winners and losers for the last complete fundraising quarter prior to Election Day:
The Massachusetts Field: Elizabeth Warren has topped our winners list over and over, and she left us no choice but to give her the win again. Among Senate candidates, Warren is in a league of her own: She raised an incredible $12 million, blowing away her previous best quarter haul of $8.6 million. But Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., deserves a shout-out as well. Though he was badly outraised by his Democratic opponent, he still had the second best quarter of any Senate candidate, bringing in nearly $7.5 million. It was enough for him to enter the campaign's last stretch with over $10 million on hand to Warren's $7.3 million -- but her campaign said she had already spent $3 million on ads for the final three weeks of the election. Suffice it to say that both candidates have been rock star fundraisers through and through, and both will be well-funded for the end of the campaign.
Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine: Kaine has been consistently outraising GOP opponent George Allen, and this quarter was no exception. The Democrat raised approximately $4.5 million in the third quarter. His campaign banked just $1 million at the end of September to Allen's $2.6 million, but said they'd already spent additional $3 million locking in advertising for the stretch -- important given the large amount of outside group money pouring into the state in support of Allen.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona:
Carmona's challenge to GOP Rep. Jeff Flake
only recently looked like it could be successful, as polls show a very close race between the two, and outside money has begun streaming into the race (Club for Growth Action just announced an additional $900,000 in Arizona spending to back up Flake). Carmona outraised the long-favored Flake, bringing in a solid $2.2 million to Flake's nearly $1.9 million, as the congressman spent part of the quarter fighting off a primary challenge. Flake still edges Carmona in cash on hand, however: $1.5 million to $1.4 million.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.:
Baldwin outpaced former Gov. Tommy Thompson
by $1 million for the quarter, raising $4.6 million to Thompson's $3.6 million. The Republican's campaign went dark on television after the primary, as he spent all his money in the lead-up to the August GOP primary. Baldwin maintained a significant cash on hand advantage after the third quarter, finishing September with $3.5 million in the bank, compared to $2 million for Thompson. That said, outside groups on both sides are blanketing the state with TV ads, making Baldwin's cash advantage less meaningful.
Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.:
Okay, so we still haven't seen Akin's numbers yet. But we still feel comfortable putting him on our losers list. Last week, an Akin adviser said
the campaign had raised more than $1 million since the GOP establishment abandoned Akin. Even if that's the case, it may not all be before the September 30 deadline -- and meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskill
, D-Mo., brought in $5.8 million. The NRSC and Crossroads GPS have not swooped back in to help Akin, and the congressman's tiny ad buys
suggest he has very little money left for the closing weeks.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.:
Berkley had a perfectly respectable fundraising quarter -- she trailed GOP Sen. Dean Heller
, but not by too much ($1.9 million to her nearly $1.7 million). But Heller finished the quarter with more than twice her cash in the bank, ending September with more than twice Berkley's total: $1.9 million to $925,000. Some Democratic senators sent out fundraising solicitations for Berkley on Wednesday. She'll have outside help, to be sure, but so will Heller.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.:
Looking for evidence that Casey's campaign didn't see the sudden rise
of Republican Tom Smith
coming? Compare their fundraising reports. Casey, an incumbent senator with an iconic name in Pennsylvania politics, raised $1.5 million during the third quarter. Smith, who like many self-funders has struggled to raise money for his campaign, bested Casey, bringing in $1.6 million. Smith also loaned his campaign another $10 million for good measure. Suddenly finding himself in a tight race, Casey finished September at a cash on hand disadvantage: Smith ended the quarter with $7 million in the bank compared to $5.2 for Casey. And Smith could always pour in more of his own money, if necessary.
Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.:
Donelly raised a respectable $1.55 million in the third quarter, but his opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock
, almost doubled him up, bringing in $3 million for the quarter. Perhaps more distressing for Donnelly, he finished September with less than $1 million in the bank, meaning he will probably need to rely heavily on the DSCC and Majority PAC to keep up with the TV spending by Mourdock and the legion of conservative outside groups running ads on his behalf.