At least 19 members of Congress were outraised by outside challengers in the fourth quarter of 2013, an early sign of the anti-Washington sentiment suffusing the political environment this year.
It's typically very difficult to outraise sitting members of Congress, whose influence and name identification give them ready-made access to prospective donors. And the declining number of swing districts makes it even harder for a challenger to make their mark.
But even though the House looks highly unlikely to be in play for Democrats, many incumbents aren't preparing for their reelection as aggressively as possible.
The list includes 12 Republicans and seven Democrats, including many members facing tough reelection campaigns. New York Rep. Chris Gibson, representing one of the most Democratic districts held by a House Republican, was narrowly outraised by venture capitalist Sean Eldridge, the husband of The New Republic owner Chris Hughes. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., brought in over $400,000, but former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff took in even more -- $450,000. California Republican Gary Miller, the most vulnerable member of Congress in a general election, was outraised by two Democratic opponents. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, came close to doubling the haul of GOP Rep. Steve Southerland.
On the Democratic side, Arizona Rep. Ron Barber barely defeated retired Air Force colonel Martha McSally in 2012. Back for a rematch, she easily outraised him, $313,000 to $250,000. Ethically-embattled Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., was outraised by both his primary challenger, Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton, and his 2012 Republican opponent Richard Tisei. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., who could be the only member of the class of 1974 left standing, was outraised by businessman Stewart Mills.
There were also numerous members of Congress who could face primary trouble, based on their quarterly reports. Tennessee GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais only brought in $18,000, a small fraction of the $146,000 his primary challenger Jim Tracy raised. California Democratic Rep. Mike Honda, facing an intraparty challenge from Obama campaign staffer Ro Khanna, was badly outraised, $402,000 to $251,000. Michigan freshman Republican Kerry Bentivolio only raised $127,000, about half of what Republican businessman Dave Trott brought in.
Other notable members of Congress who were outraised in the fourth quarter: California Rep. David Valadao, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, Iowa Rep. Steve King, Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek, North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce, New York Rep. Tim Bishop, and New York Rep. Tom Reed. Valadao and Benishek are top Democratic targets, while Republicans are eager to knock off Shea-Porter and Bishop.
This article appears in the February 4, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.
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