House Democrats raised a record amount of money in the last election cycle and won 40 seats to regain majority control. With even more cash being raked in this year, what could November bring?
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm for the lower chamber, raised $39 million in the second quarter of 2020—eclipsing its previous personal best of $37.7 million in the same period of 2018.
“It’s a whole new world with that kind of money,” Democratic fundraiser Michael Fraioli told Newsweek.
Republicans were expected to gain seats in the chamber at the start of the cycle, when President Donald Trump was still looking strong even after the 2018 “blue wave.” But his sliding poll numbers amid the coronavirus crisis and growing racial justice movement have started to open up more opportunities for Democrats.
Now, forecasters said, there’s at least a 50 percent chance Democrats will expand their majority this fall.
“There are vulnerable Republican districts in play that we haven’t talked about in years because the president is so weak right now at the top of the ballot,” Nathan Gonzales, editor of the nonpartisan campaign analysis Inside Elections, told Newsweek.
After the strong fundraising numbers came in, the DCCC announced Thursday it was adding six more candidates to their so-called “Red to Blue” list: Margaret Good in Florida, Amy Kennedy in New Jersey, Desiree Tims in Ohio, Christina Finello in Pennsylvania, as well as Sima Ladjevardian and Candace Valenzuela in Texas.
In total, the DCCC is eyeing 30 seats in red districts to flip in 2020. Experts said the $39 million will help them play offense while also offering protection for more vulnerable incumbents.
Representative Cheri Bustos, the chairwoman of the DCCC, told ABC News in a statement that the second-quarter fundraising haul will allow the party to “continue pushing deeper into Republican-held territory.”
Republicans would need to net at least 17 seats to regain control of the chamber. The National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to release its fundraising totals and did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.
But such a scenario is becoming increasingly unlikely. On Friday, the nonpartisan forecaster Cook Political Report moved 20 races in the lower chamber toward Democratic candidates—a majority of which were in districts Trump won in 2016.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm for the upper chamber, also raised a record best in the second quarter of the year as they received nearly $34 million in contributions. June was the committee’s best fundraising month of the entire election cycle with $13.6 million raised.
“It’s very reminiscent of this ‘Green Wave’ of cash that we saw in 2018 that proceeded Democrats taking back the House,” said Jessica Taylor, the Senate editor at the Cook Political Report.
The cash will come in handy as Democrats aim to retake control of the chamber, which is currently held by a 53-to-47 Republican majority. To do so, they would need to flip at least four or five seats in November.
“We are on offense this cycle,” DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss told Newsweek. He added that the fundraising record “speaks to the enthusiasm which we’ve seen all cycle for Democratic candidates and a real eagerness to hold Republicans accountable for their failures in Washington.”
The committee has already reserved $30 million in television advertising for the fall in Arizona, Iowa, Montana and North Carolina—four states where Republican incumbents are facing tough re-election bids against Democratic challengers.
In the second quarter, Democratic candidates outraised Republicans in 13 Senate races in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky. Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“These are all indicators that the national mood and the electorate are favoring Democrats just over 100 days out,” Taylor said. “That can tighten, but we are getting closer and closer to Election Day.”
The National Republican Senate Committee has yet to release its fundraising totals and did not immediately respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment.