SPOTLIGHT | AL-sen

How McConnell Helps Strange, By the Numbers

The appointed senator vying in the Alabama special election out-raised his opponent in the pre-runoff period.

Senate Budget Committee members Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., left, and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., center, walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, right, as they leave a closed-door meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after working on a tax code overhaul, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. The as-yet-undrafted bill to overhaul the tax code is the top priority for Trump and Republicans after the collapse of their effort to dismantle Barack Obama's health care law.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Kyle Trygstad
Sept. 21, 2017, 10:58 a.m.

The difference between having Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on your side and not is blatantly evident in the pre-runoff fundraising reports for the Alabama Senate special election.

In the fight for the Republican nomination, which will be decided Tuesday, Sen. Luther Strange out-raised former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore by $500,000 from July 27 to Sept. 6. Much of that margin came from 140 donations from corporate PACs and fellow senators, which totaled $367,000. Additionally, Strange received more than 70 individual contributions from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, mostly from lobbyists, consultants, and attorneys. Even NRSC executive director Chris Hansen threw in $1,000.

Compare that to Moore, who received a single PAC donation—$5,000 from the National Association for Gun Rights—and no individual contributions from anyone with a D.C. address. Moore’s edge was in donations under $200, bringing in $378,000 to just $26,000 for Strange.

Of course, that’s just candidate money. Strange’s financial advantage extends to outside spending, with backing from the Senate Leadership Fund, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the NRA.

Kyle Trygstad

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