Campaigns are announcing their second quarter fundraising totals and the numbers are staggering—for Democrats. In North Carolina, U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham says he raised more than $7.4 million between April 1 to June 30. Governor Roy Cooper raised more than $5.5 million in the same period and Congressional candidate Pat Timmons-Goodson raked in more than $800,000 for the quarter. Those are massive numbers for campaigns and should have Republicans in the state deeply concerned.
Across the country, Democrats are putting up even bigger totals. In South Carolina, Jaime Harrison announced he raised a staggering $14 million in his race against Lindsey Graham. In Maine, Sarah Gideon raised more than $8 million in her bid against Susan Collins. And in Montana, Governor Steve Bullock raised $7.7 million for his U.S. Senate race. Clearly, control of the Senate is up for grabs.
The staggering totals follow Joe Biden’s announcement that he outraised Donald Trump for the second quarter in a row. Biden brought in $141 million to the President’s $131 million, underscoring his advantage in the polls as the campaigns head down the stretch. The Real Clear Politics polling average has Biden leading Trump by nine nationally and three in North Carolina.
These fundraising numbers highlight the enthusiasm of Democratic voters. Similar scenes played out in 2018 when Congressional challengers raised huge sums compared to their Republican incumbent opponents. Democrats picked up enough seats to take control of the U.S. House by a wide margin. This year, Democrats want to take the White House and the U.S. Senate while expanding their majority in the House.
In politics today, third party organizations are likely to spend as much as the candidates themselves. The big numbers posted by challengers means that the candidates can get their messages out to voters and leave the task of making the case against GOP incumbents to the SuperPACs. In 2014, the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis saw $125 million spent with the campaigns themselves raising less than half of that.
In North Carolina, we’re about to be in for it. We’re a battleground state for the presidency. The outcome of the Cunningham-Tillis race may determine control of the U.S. Senate. Cooper has been the top target of the Republican Governors Association, despite the lackluster candidacy of Dan Forests. Timmons-Goodson is running in a district that is rapidly shifting blue. And the legislature is top target for national groups that want to make sure Democrats control the redistricting process in 2021. The money we’re seeing makes sure everyone is heard. And it’s going to be loud.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >