Demographics and Elections Commentary tagged with Democrat $ advantages

2/8/2024: Final 2023 campaign finance reports -- Democrats way ahead in the key races [RightDataUSA]

[The image is backwards -- the big money is, as always, on the left. The amount on the right is whatever Ronna McRomney at the RNC can spare from her lipstick and botox fund.]

Last week the Federal Election Commission released the 2023 year-end financial data which shows the volume of money raised and spent by each candidate for the U.S. House or Senate. Funds raised which have already been spent are not of particular relevance at this point; instead we focus on the much more important cash-on-hand figures.

Approximately 11 months ago we published a list of 59 congressional incumbents who, based on the nature of their districts and the closeness of their wins in 2022, are obviously the most vulnerable in 2024. On the Democrat side, three of the supposedly Vulnerable 29 have opted not to seek re-election. All of the 30 Republicans who are facing the toughest odds are seeking re-election, except for George Santos (NY-3) who was expelled from Congress last December. Lauren Boebert (CO-3) is running again, but in a different district than the one she currently represents, so those two seats are considered to be open for the moment (NY-3 won't be open after next week).

Let's look at how these incumbents are doing in the money department, and how serious their opposition is likely to be. The vast majority of the nearly 400 other House seats which are up for re-election in November are, as usual, not likely to be competitive. The financial data shown in the following tables is effective as of 12/31/2023. Campaign fundraising and spending will really kick into high gear later this year, but the data even as it stands now illustrates quite nicely how these races are progressing.

Democrat incumbents:

Incumbent District Cash-on-Hand Republican
Mary PeltolaAK At-Large$1.774 million$382,000
Mike LevinCA-49 $1,242 millionalmost $2 million
Yadira CaraveoCO-8$1.359 million$389,000
Jahana HayesCT-5$1.030 million$372,000
Nikki BudzinskiIL-13$1.399 millionnot seriously trying
Eric SorensenIL-17$1.631 million$218,000
Frank MrvanIN-1$823,000 $192,000
Sharice DavidsKS-3$1.646 million$391,000
Jared GoldenME-2$1.436 million$338,000
Hillary ScholtenMI-3$1.364 million$448,000
Angie CraigMN-2$2.152 million$269,000
Don DavisNC-1$820,000$1.115 million
Chris PappasNH-1$1.255 million$628,000
Gabriel VasquezNM-2$1.247 million$783,000
Susie LeeNV-3$1.585 million$397,000
Steven HorsfordNV-4No report filed but surely over $1 million$483,000
Pat RyanNY-18$2.212 million$198,000
Greg LandsmanOH-1$1.216 millionloose change
Marcy KapturOH-9$1.325 million$665,000
Emilia SykesOH-13$1.113 million$418,000
Andrea SalinasOR-6$1.098 millionnot seriously trying
Susan WildPA-7$1.578 million$343,000
Matt CartwrightPA-8$2.012 million$636,000
Chris DeluzioPA-17$986,000$282,000
Marie Gluesenkamp PerezWA-3$2.181 million$672,000
Kim SchrierWA-8$2.164 millionnot seriously trying

In every single case the Democrats have a large amount of cash on hand; in only 2 districts (CA-49 and NC-1) are the Republican challengers, even if they pooled their money -- coming close. Now let's take a look at some races where those factors do not always hold.

Republican incumbents:

Incumbent District Cash-on-Hand Democrat
David SchweikertAZ-1$902,000$3.909 million
Juan CiscomaniAZ-6$2.130 million$915,000
John DuarteCA-13$1.417 million$393,000
David ValadaoCA-22$1.442 million$602,000
Mike GarciaCA-27$1.776 million$2.282 million
Young KimCA-40$2.536 million$843,000
Ken CalvertCA-41$2.485 million$2.234 million
Michelle SteelCA-45$3.023 million$502,000
Anna Paulina LunaFL-13$550,000$151,000
Mariannette Miller-MeeksIA-1$1.585 million$1.125 million
Ashley HinsonIA-2$1.441 millionvery little
Zach NunnIA-3$1.595 million$445,000
Andy HarrisMD-1$925,000not seriously trying yet
John JamesMI-10$2.347 million$1.074 million
Brad FinstadMN-1$384,000nothing at all
Ann WagnerMO-2$2.612 millionnothing so far
Ryan ZinkeMT-1$1.892 million$895,000
Don BaconNE-2 $1.548 million$1.113 million
Tom Kean Jr. NJ-7$2.110 million$838,000
Anthony D'EspositoNY-4$1.248 million$647,000
Mike LawlerNY-17$2.500 million$1.580 million
Marc MolinaroNY-19$1.619 million$1.469 million
Brandon WilliamsNY-22$913,000 $497,000
Lori Chavez-DeRemerOR-5$1.608 million$476,000
Scott PerryPA-10$547,000$327,000
Monica de la CruzTX-15n/a but a sizable lead, probablynot much, yet
Tony GonzalesTX-23$1.948 millionnothing, but.... (see note)
Jen KiggansVA-2$1.505 million$94,000

Note: A GOP challenger to Gonzales has $587,000, which is fantastic. Gonzales, who is for all intents and purposes a Democrat (which is why they aren't bothering to oppose his re-election bid), needs to be eliminated in a primary election.

Unlike the Democrats who are facing potentially stiff competition this year, some Republicans in similar circumstances are coming up short. Predictably, the shortfall is hitting conservative incumbents the hardest: Perry, Luna and Schweikert. Luna for the time being is not in any danger but the other two are severely threatened and have a significant probability of losing. The party establishment won't shed a single tear if that happens.

In addition, Democrat challengers as a group are much better-funded than Republican challengers to Democrat incumbents. We noted last March that the list of vulnerable GOP House members was, on average, more endangered than their liberal counterparts. Campaign finance is a major reason why that statement is true.

The next level of competitive House seats are several of the ones which have no incumbent, primarily due to retirements.

Open seats:

District Current Party Democrat
CA-47D$1.9 million$1.7 million
CO-5Rnothing significant to report
MD-6D$1.2 million nobody with even $100,000
MI-7D $1.1 million$649,000
MI-8Dnothing yet$786,000
NC-6Dpuntingover $1 million
NC-13Dabout the same as NC-6
NC-14Dmight forfeit this one too$1.5 million
NJ-3Dnothing to report yet but Republicans obvious underdogs
NY-3R, for a few more daysover $3 million$1.5 million
VA-7D$1.1 million$800,000
VA-10D7 or 8 viable candidates with $$$1 guy with $187,000

The determination as to which party controls the House after 2024 will be largely -- but not quite entirely -- made in the districts we have highlighted in the 3 tables shown above. First off, black-robed tyrants have already dictated a shift of one seat from Republicans to Democrats in Louisiana, and will likely achieve the same thing in Alabama. Republicans have no chance of holding the Louisiana district and only a small chance of retaining the affected Alabama seat. Similar shenanigans may play out in South Carolina and elsewhere before November.

For example:

New York Democrats, who already had a favorable district map in 2022, are going to gerrymander harder and turn all of those merely "vulnerable" New York GOP-held seats listed above into guaranteed flips. And then try for even more. Same thing in Wisconsin, where Democrats got the map they wanted in 2022 but are going to use their new dictatorial state Supreme Court power to gerrymander the state in their favor to an even greater extent. Specifically in the crosshairs when that happens will be Republicans Derrick Van Orden (WI-3) and Brian Steil (WI-1). Taken all together, these moves will more than offset the undoing of the Democrat gerrymander in North Carolina, where Republicans are set to gain 3 seats -- mainly by simply reclaiming a pair of districts which Democrat judges stole from them in 2020 and continued to hold hostage in 2022.

Here's how things stack up on the Senate side, in any state which could possibly be competitive:

Arizona: ("Independent" incumbent) Kyrsten Sinema (I) $10.596 million, Ruben Gallego (D) $6.542 million, Kari Lake (R) $1.083 million. Neither Sinema as a phony independent nor her equally greasy Democrat colleague are facing any primary opposition and can keep their powder dry until the general election campaign. Lake will face at least one primary opponent, and the Hanoi John McCain wing of the AZGOP will oppose her both in that primary and again in November. Just as they did in 2022.

Florida: (R incumbent) Rick Scott (R) $3.172 million, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) $1.544 million. The best the Rats could do in Florida was to exhume some hyphenated one-term fluke ex-Congresswoman who should lose by at least 10 points to Scott. But the race isn't necessarily going to be as easy as the Republicans seem to think, and note the paltry amount Scott currently has to work with -- in a massive state like Florida -- as compared to what some D incumbents in much smaller states like Nevada and Montana have.

Michigan: (D incumbent) Elissa Slotkin (D) $6.021 million, several hopeless Republicans ~$2.5 million combined. Democrats got off to a quick start here with Debbie Stabenow announcing her retirement very early, and they've parlayed that into a huge war chest. Republicans have stumbled out of the gate, with a pair of failed ex-Congressmen (Mike Rogers, Justin Amash) leading the dreary GOP field. Police chief James Craig has apparently thrown his hat into the ring and should gallop past his rivals shortly. Slotkin is hardly a strong candidate but as things stand now there's every chance that she'll have a Senate career as long as Stabenow somehow did despite accomplishing nothing aside from being a reliable ultra-liberal puppet.

Montana: (D incumbent) Jon Tester (D) $11.223 million, Tim Sheehy (R) $1.266 million. Matt Rosendale (R) has $1.672 million in his House campaign account, but it's looking like he's about to defy his party's liberal establishment and jump into the Senate race! Sheehy, as the presumptive Republican candidate up to now, has been facing a barrage of negative ads from the Tester campaign, along with the negative coverage he gets from the media free of charge to the Democrats. Rosendale's going to get that treatment too of course, but he's run statewide campaigns before and should know exactly what he's up against -- and maybe even how to beat it.

Nevada: (D incumbent) Jacky Rosen (D) $10.650 million, Sam Brown $1.729 million. Brown was runner-up in the GOP Senate primary in 2022, to perennial loser Adam Laxalt. If/when Brown racks up another high-profile loss or two (one is probably coming in November) he can join Laxalt and Danny Tarkanian in the NVGOP Hall of Shame. OTOH, polls keep alleging that Trump is beating President Alzheimer in Nevada, and in the event those polls are accurate then there could be a coattail effect. It may be close, but the Republican record in close elections in Nevada isn't anything to brag about.

Ohio: (D incumbent) Sherrod Brown (D) $14.614 million, 3 GOP challengers combined ~$7.63 million. Another one that's going to be close in November. It's going to be close in next month's primary too. Trump's endorsement of Bernie Moreno should propel him to victory but it may be a very fractious win, with the Frank Larose and -- especially -- Matt Dolan camps possibly failing to unite behind Moreno afterwards. Don't be surprised if Dolan, among others in the GOPe, endorses Brown instead of Moreno or simply sits it out through November.

Pennsylvania: (D incumbent) Bob Casey (D) $9.438 million, Dave McCormick (R) $4.179 million. McCormick can't possibly do any worse than Oz in PA, can he? It's about time for someone to give the Casey pup the boot; incredible though it seems, Empty Suit Casey is actually the dumber of the two PA senators.

Texas: (R incumbent) Ted Cruz (R) $6.176 million, Colin Allred (D) $10.106 million. If you look at only the amounts raised and spent so far, you'd conclude that Cruz is cruz-ing to another Senate term. But as we've mentioned previously, whatever Cruz has spent all those millions on isn't helping him much. Now he's behind in cash-on-hand and is likely to stay there; hopefully that won't matter. One recent poll has Cruz back on top by about 10 points, as he should be, as opposed to another recent (outlier?) poll which had him only up by 2. Some are assuming that Allred is going to have to spend a good portion of his current cash in a contentious Democrat primary. That's not very likely to be necessary; the primary ought to be a breeze, even for a dull candidate whose "celebrity" status is all (aside from lots of $$$$) he has going for him.

Wisconsin: (D incumbent) Tammy Baldwin (D) $8.036 million, the GOP has nothing, not even a viable candidate yet. Just because the filing deadline and primary dates are comparatively late in the election season doesn't mean the Republicans should be wasting time -- but they are. The standard-bearer will almost certainly end up being either Sheriff David Clarke or businessman Eric Hovde. The second tier would be ex-LG Rebecca Kleefisch or another businessman, Kevin Nicholson. None of those four are officially in the race yet, and none are exactly heavyweights though any of them would be acceptable. An ultra-liberal like Baldwin, whose only political "qualification" is her sexual deviance (forgive us for that mental image) should not be unbeatable in a marginal state like this. If this were California, sure. But not Wisconsin.

West Virginia (D incumbent) Alex Mooney (R) $1.766 million (!), Jim Justice (RINO) $1.230 million. The conservative "kid" is out-raising the doddering old moderate who is backed by all of the liberal movers & shakers in the GOP leadership? How is this possible? There's no point in even mentioning Democrat chances here, because they haven't got any. If Mooney wins the primary, no amount of GOPe backstabbing is going to stop him from being elected in November -- which is why they'll spare no expense to stop Mooney in the primary. WV's mega-squish Senator, Shelley Moore Capito, will take the lead on that project. Solidly Republican West Virginia already has one RINO senator; it doesn't need two.

We'll update these races and any other competitive ones as the year goes along. The next batch of FEC reports are due at the end of the first quarter, and of course there will also be non-financial factors which steer the probable outcome in one direction or the other.

Money alone does not determine the outcome of an election. If it did, no Republican would ever win a Senate election except in states where Democrats don't bother trying. Nor would they win anything other than the very safest House districts. But in marginal districts or states, when one candidate (the Democrat) has a sizable financial advantage -- close to 3:1 or greater -- it is rare for the underdog (the Republican) to come out on top. We'll see over the next few months whether these sizable deficits Republicans are facing grow or shrink.


2024 U.S. House Senate Democrat $ advantages