GOP Midterm Fundraising Plummets As Democrats Surge

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Democrats are faring substantially better than the GOP in finances at the party committee level for this year’s Senate elections, a new report from The New York Times explains.

The report shows the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is a national GOP organization that focuses, as its name suggests, on Senate races, launched aggressive fundraising efforts as this midterm elections cycle got underway, and the pay-offs for these attempts at obtaining vast sums of donor cash have proven paltry, leaving Republicans struggling. At one point last year, the NRSC flew past every single other active political committee in amounts spent on ads online, which could appear on platforms including Google and Facebook — and then it entirely disappeared from available ad space on Facebook for some four months of this year. No committee ads appeared on the platform from April to late August.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who was governor of Florida for eight years and is in his first term, leads the NRSC. A substantial portion of the money the committee raised is already spent, and the amounts the committee originally brought in — including through hyper-aggressive texts that didn’t even identify the sender — left a gap of millions of dollars between donations and costs. Compared to the first quarter, online fundraising at the committee dropped by over one-third in the second quarter of this year, and the Times credits $10 million in transfers from the Republican National Committee — the main national GOP organization — with ensuring the Senate committee wasn’t underwater.

Evidently, the Senate committee raised $181.5 million across this midterm elections cycle by the end of July, but over 95 percent of previous fundraising totals — a full $172.8 million — was already spent. At that time, the committee reported just $23.2 million in cash on hand (meaning available money), which is “less than half of what the Senate Democratic committee had ahead of the final intense phase of the midterm elections,” according to the Times. A spokesperson for Scott and the committee credited the gap to the Democratic committee’s ostensibly slower pace on television spending for Senate races, but the GOP committee’s pace of spending supporting Republican contenders is slower as of this point than it was in the last election cycle, according to the Times. Overall fundraising is also lower, with the committee falling in the most recent six-month period for which data is available $15 million below where it was in the same period of 2020.

A budgeting document from the committee that the Times obtained indicates $23.3 million was spent on efforts at growing the donor base between June 2021 and January 2022. “In that time, the contributors the organization found gave $6.1 million — a more than $17 million deficit,” per info from the Times. That’s a major gap in levels of return on investment for the ad campaigns. Polling from around the country suggests Democrats are posed to do well in key races, including the Senate contests in Pennsylvania and Arizona, in addition to potentially sharply competitive states like Wisconsin and even Ohio. In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is routinely losing in polling amid his race for re-election against Democratic challenger and current Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.