Democrats are building a financial powerhouse in hopes of maintaining a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020.
To that end they are outraising Republican competitors in key congressional districts with help from ActBlue– the independent nonprofit many Democrats are utilizing as their online donor portal.
While impeachment remains relatively unpopular in key congressional districts, Democrats hope to override the message with cash, and lots of it.
A Politico analysis reveals the bulk of at-risk Democrats in the most competitive districts, 33 of 44, have put away $1 million or more ahead of the 2020 election and raised $59 million combined.
Federal Election Commission reports filed this week illustrate Democrats’ formidable advantage: The 44 Democrats in the most competitive seats banked a collective $59 million so far. Nearly 30 raised $500,000 or more in the third quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of the fundraising filings. And all but six of the so-called “frontliners” have at least half a million more banked than their challengers, if they have any challenger at all.
Much of the success can be attributed to ActBlue, the independent nonprofit online donor portal which essentially serves as a one-stop-shop for Democrat voters, allowing them to give to the Democrat candidate or organization of their choice with ease.
“Our only mission is to help small-dollar donors make their voices heard by easily giving to the groups they care about. That’s why we have dedicated support teams for donors and the groups that use our platform, as well as free digital fundraising trainings,” ActBlue explains.
Republicans do not have an online powerhouse equivalent to the left-wing organization, giving Democrat candidates a clear advantage in terms of fundraising ability. While the GOP has been pushing WinRed, it raised a fraction – $30 million – of the $297 million funneled by ActBlue in the third quarter, according to Politico.
Some say this spells trouble for Republicans, who hope to take back the House in 2020. However, some members of the GOP are dismissing concerns. They believe that money will come in as the election draws closer and are banking on messaging– specifically, that impeachment remains widely unpopular among voters in key congressional districts.
“Their base is fired up, and ActBlue has done a brilliant job. But I think we’re going to close that gap,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said, according to Politico.
“People know it’s going to be a very consequential election so there’s going to be plenty of money moved behind our challengers,” Cole added.
Politico describes the Democrats’ financial advantage as potentially “prohibitive” and says it is causing some in the GOP to rethink attempts to oust “certain freshmen with massive war chests who hold districts in pricey media markets where Trump is not popular,” as it may not be financially viable or realistic:
Incumbents such as Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who is sitting on $2 million in the Los Angeles media market, and Sean Casten (D-Ill.), who has $1.4 million at his disposal in the Chicago area, may become less appealing targets because of the cost of attacking them on the airwaves. Both have at least $1.2 million more on hand than their challengers.
“A lot of them are again building up such strong races that it’s possible they won’t get a competitive candidate,” said Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), a leader of the New Democrat Coalition. “We can take them off the playing field.”
Despite that, many Republicans are remaining optimistic and banking on two key factors: Trump’s backing and the general unpopularity of impeachment. Internal polling for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) released this month showed that impeachment remains overwhelmingly unpopular in key congressional districts.
The majority of voters in those districts, 59 percent, do not view President Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as problematic. Additionally, the majority of independents in those districts– 57 percent – do not view the conversation itself as impeachable either.
As Breitbart News reported:
The survey spelled trouble for Democrats who hold seats in Trump-won districts. The vast majority – 62 percent – consider the conversation between the two leaders was “appropriate.” Only 33 percent considered it impeachable. Furthermore, Republican candidates in Trump districts represented by Democrats hold a “double-digit advantage” over impeachment-supporting Democrats.
Respondents were asked:
“And, thinking ahead to the next election, would you be more willing to vote for: A Democratic candidate for Congress who believes that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office…or… A Republican candidate for Congress who believes that President Trump’s actions do not rise to an impeachable offense and that voters should be allowed to decide for themselves in next year’s elections.”
Fifty-four percent of voters in those Trump-won, Democrat-held districts said they would be more willing to vote for a Republican. Only 38 percent chose a Democrat, giving Republicans a 16-point advantage.
While Republicans seek to catch up to Democrats in terms of fundraising, they hope that the negative sentiment towards impeachment will offset the cash advantage of their competitors and ultimately work in their favor.
“If they have the wrong positions for their districts, money can’t save them,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) said, according to Politico.