What To Watch For In First-Quarter Fundraising

The early morning sun begins to rise behind the U.S. Capitol on December 17, 2010 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
April 4, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

Over the next two weeks, fun­drais­ing num­bers big and small will roll in from all over the coun­try as cam­paigns cel­eb­rate suc­cess (or try to hide fail­ure) from the first months of 2014. Here’s what we’ll be look­ing out for:

Do Sen­ate Demo­crats pick up the pace? Sen­ate Dems, es­pe­cially the in­cum­bents, looked pretty sol­id on the cash front at the end of last year. But as Koch-con­nec­ted spend­ing against them piled up rap­idly at the end of last year and the be­gin­ning of this one, many of them de­cided to put sig­ni­fic­ant re­sources in­to early TV ad­vert­ising to com­bat the as­sault from the out­side with per­son­al, im­age-boost­ing mes­sages. Budgets may have been re­ad­jus­ted over the last few months.

Do any primary chal­lengers soar? Money is al­ways an obstacle for primary chal­lengers, who need to man­age a cer­tain baseline to break through. That’s why this quarter will be im­port­ant, when chal­lengers can start ac­cru­ing the high­er mar­gin­al be­ne­fits of that early money. Keep an eye on chal­lengers like Seth Moulton (D) (run­ning vs. Rep. John Tier­ney (D) in MA-06 and widely un­known at this point) and two Club for Growth en­dorsees, John Ratcliffe (TX-04) and Bry­an Smith (ID-02), who are also start­ing from scratch and chal­len­ging GOP in­cum­bents in May.

Battle­ground House dis­tricts bear watch­ing too: As Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Celinda Lake men­tioned at a re­cent Chris­ti­an Sci­ence Mon­it­or break­fast, her party’s big money may shift to­ward sav­ing the Sen­ate, leav­ing House can­did­ates to shoulder more of the bur­den on their own. Those areas will all have our fo­cus over the next few weeks.
— Scott Bland

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