Southern Democrats Raising Big Bucks

Despite a tough political environment, the party’s most vulnerable candidates are bringing in millions.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks with reporters about her decision to challenge U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., on Monday, July 1, 2013. Grimes criticized McConnell as an obstructionist in Washington.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
See more stories about...
Sarah Mimms
Oct. 15, 2013, 2:21 p.m.

As third quarter fun­drais­ing re­ports roll in, Demo­crats are hear­ing good news from an un­likely place — the South.

In nearly every com­pet­it­ive Sen­ate con­test, south­ern Demo­crats out­raised their Re­pub­lic­an coun­ter­parts this quarter, which ran from Ju­ly 1 to Septem­ber 30. The South will be home to some of the party’s most dif­fi­cult races next year, in­clud­ing three vul­ner­able Demo­crat­ic-held seats they’re try­ing to hang onto — in Louisi­ana, Arkan­sas and North Car­o­lina — and two po­ten­tial, if dif­fi­cult, pickup op­por­tun­it­ies in Ken­tucky and Geor­gia.

Two of the party’s most vul­ner­able in­cum­bents, Louisi­ana Sen. Mary Landrieu and North Car­o­lina Sen. Kay Hagan both out­raised their top Re­pub­lic­an chal­lengers by more than a two-to-one mar­gin. Landrieu raised $1.35 mil­lion in the third quarter, while Rep. Bill Cas­sidy brought in around $700,000, ac­cord­ing to their re­spect­ive cam­paigns. Hagan, mean­while, raised nearly $1.9 mil­lion, while North Car­o­lina House Speak­er Thom Tillis, the cur­rent fron­trun­ner for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion, brought in about $700,000 as well.

In Ken­tucky, Demo­crat­ic Sec­ret­ary of State Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes brought in an im­press­ive $2.5 mil­lion in her first quarter as a Sen­ate can­did­ate, out­rais­ing Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell — who touted his “strongest quarter to date” in a re­lease — by about $230,000. Geor­gia’s Michelle Nunn, an­oth­er first-time Sen­ate can­did­ate, re­por­ted rais­ing $1.7 mil­lion — more than double what her top Re­pub­lic­an rivals raised. GOP Rep. Jack King­ston and Geor­gia busi­ness­man Dav­id Per­due each raised about $800,000, while former Sec­ret­ary of State Kar­en Han­del and Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gin­grey re­por­ted rais­ing about $300,000.

Both first-time Demo­crats still lag be­hind in cash on hand, however. Mc­Con­nell has about $10 mil­lion in the bank to Grimes’ $2 mil­lion. Both Gin­grey and King­ston are reach­ing the $3 mil­lion mark, while Nunn hasn’t re­leased a cash on hand fig­ure.

To be sure, there are two ex­cep­tions to the Demo­crats’ fun­drais­ing wins this quarter. First, in Arkan­sas, where Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Tom Cot­ton out­raised in­cum­bent Sen. Mark Pry­or by a less than $6,000 — a vir­tu­al tie give each can­did­ate’s mil­lion dol­lar hauls this quarter. And in West Vir­gin­ia, Demo­crat­ic Sec­ret­ary of State Nat­alie Ten­nant raised just $150,000, ac­cord­ing to ra­dio host Hoppy Ker­che­val, while Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Shel­ley Moore Capito brought in $778,000, but Ten­nant’s total rep­res­ents just two weeks of fun­drais­ing.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story mis­stated the mar­gin by which Grimes out­raised Mc­Con­nell.

What We're Following See More »
TAKATA RECALLS COULD TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE
Airbag Recalls Target 12 Million Automobiles
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."

Source:
INVESTIGATION LEADS TO LEAKER’S RESIGNATION
Secret Service Disciplines 41 Agents Over Chaffetz Leak
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says 41 Secret Service agents have been disciplined in the fallout of an investigation over the agency's leak of personnel files. The leaker, who has resigned, released records showing that Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz—who was leading an investigation of Secret Service security lapses—had applied for a job at the agency years before. The punishments include reprimands and suspension without pay. "Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service," said Johnson.

Source:
#NEVERTRUMP’S LONELY LEADER
Romney Talks Cost of His Futile Anti-Trump Fight
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Mitt Romney spoke in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about his decision to challenge Donald Trump. “Friends warned me, ‘Don’t speak out, stay out of the fray,’ because criticizing Mr. Trump will only help him by giving him someone else to attack. They were right. I became his next target, and the incoming attacks have been constant and brutal.” Still, "I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”

Source:
CONGRESS DIVIDED ON DEBT CRISIS PLAN
Puerto Rico Relief Stalled on the Hill
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A bill to help Puerto Rico handle its $70 billion debt crisis is facing an uncertain future in the Senate. No Senate Democrats have endorsed a bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while some are actively fighting it. ... On the Republican side, senators say they’re hopeful to pass a bill but don’t know if they can support the current legislation — which is expected to win House approval given its backing from leaders in that chamber."

Source:
LAWMAKERS RECESS WITH NO PLAN IMMINENT
Congress Slow-walking Zika Legislation
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Congress abandoned the Capitol Thursday for an almost two-week break without addressing how to combat Zika, even as public health officials issue dire warnings about the spread of the mosquito-driven virus with summer approaching. ... Instead of racing to fund efforts to thwart a potential health crisis, lawmakers are treating the Zika debate like regular legislation, approving Thursday the establishment of a House-Senate committee to hammer out differences in their competing bills."

Source:
×