The Senate map favors Republicans this cycle, but Democrats are off to a hot fundraising start. Here are our first-quarter winners and losers:
Red State Democrats: To win back the majority, Republicans probably need to unseat a majority of the five Democratic incumbents seeking reelection in states President Obama lost in 2012. But all five of these vulnerable Democrats turned in solid first quarters. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is the only one who failed to crack $1 million, but he brought in close to $950,000, a more-than-respectable sum for Alaska. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., brought in $1.2 million, and she has a $1 million lead on GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy in cash-on-hand. Sens. Max Baucus ($1.5M), Kay Hagan ($1.6M) and Mark Pryor ($1.9M) posted three of the largest hauls of the quarter.
Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker: Expected to be one of the top fundraisers of the cycle, Booker lived up to the billing, reeling in $1.9 million in the first quarter. By comparison, Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, Booker's potential rival for the nomination, added $460,000. Thanks to the money he carried over from last cycle, Pallone has $2 million more in the bank than Booker, but the mayor's fast pace suggests he's more than capable of eventually surpassing his fellow Democrat.
Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa: Braley's $1-million haul is a solid head start, especially if Republican Rep. Steve King opts not to join the race. King -- the only proven fundraiser among the potential GOP candidates -- brought in only $91,000 in the first quarter, which some are taking as a sign he's staying put. If King passes on the race, the ensuing GOP free-for-all will stand in stark contrast to the unified Democratic support Braley has quickly marshaled.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: Though he's been considered a likely target for a conservative primary challenge this cycle, Graham has so far avoided a tough fight for his seat. In addition to getting the backing of the state's congressional delegation -- several of whom had been pegged as potential primary foes -- Graham raised $1.1 million in the first quarter and ended March without a serious challenger in sight. The $5.4 million he had stashed away at the end of March -- one of the highest cash-on-hand figures for an incumbent senator this year -- may have something to do with that. Graham's not completely out of the woods, however. Businessman Richard Cash, who narrowly lost a Republican runoff to Rep. Jeff Duncan in 2010 and has some name recognition in the Upstate, announced this week that he'll seek Graham's seat.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky: The Senate's GOP leader raised another 1.8 million reasons for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to stay put in the Commonwealth in the first quarter of the year, ending March with an astounding $8.6 million in the bank. That's almost twice as much as he had on hand during the same period in 2007. Democrats were similarly excited about the prospect of ousting McConnell that year, but failed to coax their wishlist of contenders into the race. McConnell's warchest could scare off top Democrats again, with actress Ashley Judd opting out of the race and Grimes remaining non-committal. Still, Democrat Bruce Lunsford ran a surprisingly close campaign in 2008, and it's too soon to tell if the party will be able to convince another candidate to take on McConnell's millions.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii: Schatz pulled in $1.1 million and has over $1 million in the bank after his first-ever fundraising quarter, a sum that will help cement him into place after he was appointed to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in 2012. Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who also applied for the appointment and is considering a primary challenge against Schatz, raised less than one-quarter of what Schatz did.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.: With former Sen. John Sununu officially ruling out a rubber match last week, Shaheen still doesn’t have a challenger. After raising $1.2 million and finishing the quarter with almost $1.5 million in the bank, the Democrat will start out with a significant financial advantage over her eventual opponent.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.: After raising $1.5 million in the first quarter, Udall now leads his opponent in cash on hand, over $2.5 million to zero. Colorado Republicans have still not put forward a challenger, though they insist several candidates are looking seriously at the race. Then again, state GOP chair Ryan Call also said Udall's strong fundraising was a "sign of weakness," which is patently silly.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: Broun raised just $209,000 in the first quarter of the year, despite being the only declared candidate for Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat for more than a month. GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey, who joined the race just days before the first quarter deadline, raised more than three times as much during the same period. Republican Reps. Jack Kingston and Tom Price, as well as Democratic Rep. John Barrow, all of whom are considering the seat, each raised more than twice as much as Broun did. Though Broun said that he has some major fundraisers planned in the second quarter and is confident that he'll catch up, he had just over $217,000 in the bank at the end of March, while all of his potential primary opponents topped the $1 million mark.
Former Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La.: Landry has continued to float his name as a possible Senate contender over the past few months, but he raised a paltry $5,107 in the first three months of 2013, not exactly a Senate-level fundraising haul. Landry, who left Congress in January after losing a bruising member-on-member battle to fellow Republican Rep. Charles Boustany, ended the period with a little less than $30,000 on hand. By comparison, Cassidy, who entered the race earlier this month, has more than 80 times as much in his campaign account.
Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds: Rounds brought in just $184,000, a steep drop-off after a $270,000 December. Though Rounds has cast himself as the early frontrunner, that total is unlikely to scare other Republicans into staying out of the race. Rep. Kristi Noem, for instance, brought in $270,000 in the first quarter, which for her is a down quarter.