On Wednesday, we reviewed the strongest fourth quarter fundraising numbers reported to date. But about halfway through January, there are a slew of numbers we’re still eagerly anticipating from Senate hopefuls across the country. Here’s a look at the some of the big question marks still out there.
— Radio silence. We’re still waiting for numbers in some of the cycle’s marquee Senate races. In the hotly-contested Kentucky race, there’s been no word yet from Mitch McConnell (R) or his likely Democratic opponent Allison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes and McConnell both raked in more than $2 million in the third quarter, with Grimes outraising the Senate minority leader. Armed with some of Elizabeth Warren‘s (D-MA) fundraising team, can she keep it up? We did hear from McConnell’s primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin (R), who brought in a solid $900,000. North Carolina is also expected to play host to a highly competitive race, and thus far neither Sen. Kay Hagan (D) nor anyone in the very crowded GOP field has announced their haul. Hagan, a solid fundraiser, will likely have another strong quarter, but will Thom Tillis (R) improve on his less-than-impressive third quarter?
— Primary challengers. Launching a primary challenge to a sitting senator can get you buzz — but we’re about to find out which of these challengers can back it up. It’s the first quarter we’ll see numbers for Milton Wolf, the Kansas physician (and distant Obama cousin) challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R). In Mississippi, the same goes for state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), who has the backing of several outside groups (meanwhile, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) needs to dramatically improve on his third-quarter numbers now that he’s confirmed he’s running for reelection). And another primary to watch the numbers in: Hawaii, where Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is running against appointed Sen. Brian Schatz (D). Schatz outraised the congresswoman last time around — will he solidify his lead or can she keep the money race close?
— Time to perform. As we pointed out Wednesday, Alaska‘s Dan Sullivan had a very strong first quarter of fundraising, and we haven’t heard from Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R), the other GOP establishment candidate in the race. But in the third quarter, the LG raised far less than what Sullivan did in the fourth. Has he been able to step it up and get anywhere close to Sullivan’s impressive haul? And in Nebraska, will Shane Osborn (R) show he can raise the money needed to compete with Ben Sasse (R), who had a blockbuster third quarter and is getting group support (and some national buzz)?
We’ve heard from a lot of winners so far. As we creep closer to the reporting deadline, we can expect to see some fundraising losers as well. Stay tuned.
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"Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday. A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday."
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.