Vulnerable Democrats Have a Good Fundraising Quarter

AW
July 27, 2021

Cook Political Report interns Nyah Jordan and Zachary Werner contributed to this report.

At this stage of an election cycle, the campaign committees’ biggest headaches come from incumbents who aren’t taking their upcoming races seriously. One easy way to tell that an incumbent is slacking is to look at their fundraising reports. To be sure, having an anemic bank account today doesn’t automatically translate to a difficult re-election contest a year from now. Nor does having a fat cash-on-hand balance mean smooth sailing for 2022. 

But, a healthy fundraising quarter — and a lot of money in the bank — can help to discourage a serious challenge. This is especially important this year when the later-than-normal start to redistricting has kept many would-be challengers on the sidelines waiting to see final lines before they make their decision to run. In other words, incumbents have an even bigger head start than normal on fundraising for the upcoming election.

Last week, the second quarter fundraising results - covering the period from April 30 to June 30 were posted. The folks at the DCCC have to be happy with what they saw. Democrats have many challenges in 2022, but at this point, at least, money isn’t one of them. 

Both parties have an equal number of vulnerable House incumbents, defined here as those who won their last election with 55 percent or less of the vote; Democrats have 40 to Republicans’ 42. When we take out those running for higher office or retiring, that leaves 37 vulnerable Democrats and 40 vulnerable Republicans. Of course, these numbers can and will change once redistricting is completed. But, there’s little doubt that most of these incumbents will be in competitive contests come next fall. 

Coming into a midterm election with their party holding the White House, House Democrats are at much higher risk than their GOP colleagues. Almost every vulnerable Democratic incumbent had a healthy second-quarter fundraising and have significant resources banked. 

Of the 37 Democrats who won re-election with less than 55 percent of the vote, 24 of them (or 65 percent), raised $500,000 or more. Another nine raised at least $300,000. 

Republicans, meanwhile, had less than robust fundraising. Just nine of them raised $500,000 or more. Forty-two percent of them raised less than $300,000. 

Meanwhile, almost 80 percent of the most vulnerable Democrats have at least $1M in the bank, compared to just 15 percent of Republicans.

By the end of the year, once new lines are drawn and challengers emerge, we’ll have a better sense for how well these incumbent money hauls are holding up. For now, however, most politically vulnerable Democrats have stocked away lots of cash. And, while not as many vulnerable Republicans put up big numbers this quarter, some of the most vulnerable GOPers, like freshmen Reps. Ashley Hinson (IA01), Maria Salazar (FL-27) and Young Kim (CA-39) had significant hauls. 
 

Vulnerable Incumbents Q2 Fundraising Totals