Democrats in key Senate races have more cash to spend than Republicans in the final midterm push

Politics

This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 3, 2021, left, and Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaking in Perry, Ga., Sept. 25, 2021.
AP

Democrats running in some of the country’s closest Senate races headed into the final weeks of their campaigns with a cash edge over their Republican rivals, according to newly released Federal Election Commission records.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., all came into October with more cash on hand than their GOP opponents, records show. The extra cash could give their campaigns a boost as Democrats try to gain an edge in Nov. 8 elections that could decide control of the Senate next year.

Mandela Barnes, the nominee for Wisconsin’s Senate seat, on the other hand, came into October with slightly less cash on hand than Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Nonpartisan forecaster Cook Political Report has rated all four of those races as toss-ups. They are among the critical contests that will determine whether Democrats can hold their razor-thin majority in the Senate. The party controls the upper chamber of Congress, which is split 50-50 by party, through Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote.

While Democratic candidates have outraised Republicans in many of the most important Senate races, outside GOP groups such as the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund have helped to close the gap. Political action committees allied with both parties have piled millions of dollars into attack ads in the races.

Polling averages show tight races in all four states. Fetterman leads GOP candidate Mehmet Oz by more than 3 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.

Warnock also leads Republican Herschel Walker by an average of about 3 percentage points, according to the site. Polls in Georgia have not budged much since Walker’s ex-girlfriend alleged the former football star, a staunch abortion opponent, paid for her to have an abortion.

Polls suggest Cortez Masto and Barnes could have a tougher time winning their races than their Democratic counterparts. The Nevada incumbent trails Republican Adam Laxalt by an average of just under 2 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Barnes lags behind Johnson by nearly 3 percentage points, the site’s polling average shows.

Democrats may need the extra cash to help them overcome a challenging national landscape. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday found 49% of likely voters said they planned to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress, compared with 45% who expected to vote for a Democrat.

Fetterman and Warnock had nearly twice as much cash on hand as their rivals did going into October. The records show that Fetterman had $4.1 million in the bank, while Oz trailed with $2.5 million. Warnock’s campaign had $13 million in cash reserves, topping Walker’s, which had just over $7 million.

Barnes, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, entered the final stretch of the campaign with less money than Johnson even though he outraised him in the third quarter. Barnes had north of $3 million in the bank coming into October, trailing Johnson’s more than $4 million.

Barnes easily outraised Johnson in the July through September period. His campaign took in almost $20 million, while Johnson brought in over $11 million, records show.

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