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.
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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."