Senate Democrats’ campaign arm raised a record $26.9 million in August, officials told HuffPost, as small-dollar donors eager to oust Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) poured money into the group’s coffers.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee now has $41 million on hand as the battle for control of the Senate enters its final months. Republicans have a 53-47 edge in the Senate, and national Democrats have invested money in flipping 10 GOP-held seats that are up for grabs in November. Republicans have hopes of picking up just two seats.
Democratic hopes of passing their plans to rebuild the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as enacting their longer-term agenda on guns, income inequality, health care and climate change, requires taking control of the Senate in 2020 — and potentially on the size of the party’s majority.
The committee said 86% of the money raised came from grassroots donations online, in the mail or over the phone.
“The grassroots community continues to show up for our work to flip the Senate, and this record-shattering report would not have been possible without their support,” said Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the chair of the DSCC. “The momentum behind Democratic Senate candidates will continue to fuel these races through these final crucial weeks and provide critical resources to ensure we reach voters across these battleground states.”
The August haul is a significant spike in the DSCC’s fundraising. It raised roughly $13 million in both June and July.
Democratic fundraising spiked in August amid both parties’ nominating conventions and former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Biden and the Democratic National Committee combined to raise $364 million in that month.
The DSCC’s haul comes as Senate Republicans increasingly argue to donors that keeping control of the Senate is the GOP’s only chance to block Democratic policy goals if President Donald Trump loses. Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC controlled by allies of McConnell, announced earlier on Friday it raised $37.4 million in August, and had $126.1 million cash on hand. As a super PAC, the group can collect donations of any size.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP equivalent to the DSCC, has not yet announced its August fundraising. Both groups are subject to strict federal fundraising limits.
The major super PAC supporting Senate Democrats, Senate Majority PAC, is also yet to announce its August fundraising totals. All four groups must file fundraising updates with the Federal Election Commission by Sept. 20.
The DSCC is spending heavily on television ads attacking Republican incumbents in Arizona, Iowa, Montana and North Carolina and is making smaller investments in South Carolina and Texas. Other Democratic groups are spending in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Kansas.
Democratic candidates in nearly every state are raising more than their GOP opponents: South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison raised $10.6 million in August for his challenge to Sen. Lindsay Graham, for instance.
Both Democratic and Republican strategists agree Republicans are likely to oust Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, while Democratic challengers John Hickenlooper and Mark Kelly are favored to beat incumbent Republicans Cory Gardner and Martha McSally in Colorado and Arizona.
That means control of the Senate is likely to come down to four races: a matchup between Maine Sen. Susan Collins and state House Speaker Sara Gideon; a battle in Iowa between Theresa Greenfield and GOP Sen. Joni Ernst; Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s challenge to Sen. Steve Daines; and the race between Cal Cunningham and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina. Democrats will need to win at least two of those races to gain control of the Senate, assuming Biden wins the presidential race.