Two years ago, Beto O’Rourke stunned the political world by raising $38.1 million in the final quarter of fundraising ahead of Texas’s Senate race, setting him on course for a near miss loss in a state that Democrats had been trying to put in play for years.
By Friday morning, though, O’Rourke’s 2018 haul became something of a footnote. All told, Democratic candidates seeking to take back the Senate in November beat his record three times last quarter, and just about all of them swamped their GOP opponents (most of them incumbents) in the 2020 race.
Money isn’t everything in politics, but to the extent that it reflects momentum and enthusiasm, Democrats got another shot in the arm with a little more than two weeks left in the campaign.
The Democrats’ dominance in third-quarter fundraising is virtually unprecedented. It was led by South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison ($57 million), Maine’s Sara Gideon ($39.4 million) and Arizona’s Mark Kelly ($38.8 million), all of whom eclipsed O’Rourke’s record from just two years prior.
But even setting aside those record hauls, every Democratic Senate candidate running in the 15 races considered competitive outraised his or her Republican opponent. Combined, they raised more than $370 million, compared with about $150 million for the GOP candidates: an average of $25 million for the Democratic candidates and $10 million for the Republicans.
The Democrats’ advantage was even wider than Joe Biden’s edge over President Trump in just-released numbers for September, when Biden pulled in $383 million to Trump’s $248 million.
Twelve of the 15 Democratic candidates raised at least double their opponents’ haul, eight raised triple, and six raised at least quadruple.
Here are the most lopsided tallies:
Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff also came close to quadrupling his opponent, raising $21.3 million, compared with Republican Sen. David Perdue’s $5.6 million.
The only state in which it was even close was Michigan, where Democratic Sen. Gary Peters’s $14.7 million was very similar to Republican John James’s $14.4 million.
And only two other Republicans in top Senate races raised even half of their Democratic opponents’ haul: Republican Sen. Martha McSally (Ariz.) raised $23 million — compared with Kelly’s $38.7 million — and Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.) netted $7.2 million — compared with Democrat M.J. Hegar’s $13.5 million.
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