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Freshmen 42: The Money Chase

A majority of the most politically endangered freshmen House Democrats set out to raise campaign cash quickly in the first quarter of 2007, according to a review of reports filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

Many of the Freshmen 42 -- those first-term House Democrats whose victories handed the gavel to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- tried to live up to the high standards set for them by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). As Capitol Briefing first reported three months ago, Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, established very aggressive fund-raising goals for these freshmen, ranging from $650,000 to $1 million in the bank by the end of June.

To simplify things, Capitol Briefing has culled together financial information for 14 of the most vulnerable freshmen Democrats, as based on the rankings of top experts such as The Fix and the Rothenberg Political Report.

At this midway point, eight of the most vulnerable freshmen have cash-on-hand totals that are within range of the minimum end of Van Hollen's target. The other six have less than $225,000 in their campaign accounts, as of March 31, meaning they have lots of ground to make up.

Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) emerged as one of the most aggressive collectors of campaign cash among the freshmen, raising $668,000 and ending the quarter with more than $550,000 in the bank. On the other hand, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), widely considered one of the five most endangered freshmen, barely topped $100,000 in receipts for the quarter and ended with less than $130,000 in the bank.

Few of the lawmakers have deep debts, other than the personal money they lent their own campaigns. Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) has the largest debt of the vulnerable freshmen, with more than $160,000 in outstanding bills from his narrow victory in 2006. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) has more than $71,000 in debts.

Money is not the determining factor in winning re-election -- as 22 Republican incumbents learned in November -- but it can help scare away challengers who realize defeating an incumbent can take millions of dollars in contributions. So, here is the chart of the 14 most vulnerable of the Freshmen 42 in terms of total receipts from Jan. 1 to March 31, and the dollars still left in the bank.

FRESHMAN RAISED ON HAND
Kirstin Gillibrand (N.Y.) $667,795 $551,845
Tim Mahoney (Fla.) 459,926 439,061
Jerry McNerney (Calif.) 348,195 296,893
Patrick Murphy (Pa.) 340,126 300,608
Joe Courtney (Conn.) 310,165 286,785
Baron Hill (Ind.) 309,442 277,140
John Yarmuth (Ky.) 303,894 292,695
Chris Carney (Pa.) 247,748 209,893
Harry Mitchell (Ariz.) 235,966 222,773
Nick Lampson (Texas) 219,928 261,609
Zack Space (Ohio) 212,866 180,344
Steven Kagen (Wisc.) 157,680 167,116
Nancy Boyda (Kansas) 140,011 152,077
Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) 107,383 127,862

Source: Federal Election Commission

By Paul Kane  |  April 16, 2007; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Virginia Delegation Heading to Blacksburg

Comments

Shea-Porter one of the five most endangered D freshman?! That is news to me. The incumbent she defeated was not scandal plagued and she is in a district with a PVI of D+2.

Posted by: charlie | April 18, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Boyda is going to be a private citizen after the 2008 elections! She will not be able to raise money in a GOP-dominated district, and you'd better believe the GOP will unite this time and make sure that seat returns to its rightful party owner.

Posted by: David Steinle | April 18, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Money-raising is a pretty big hurdle for candidacy for public office. Civics texts better dedicate several chapters to this, rather than to such arcane and remote issues as law, the constitution, public opinion, or checks and balances. None of these other wheels turn, it seems, without a lot of grease.

Posted by: JKoch | April 19, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Ok, People!!! we have work here? in Kansas, are we going to let Senator Nancy Boyda down., it all starts here in our GREAT Capitol Washington D.C., let send this sister of our Senatorhood back home with approval that SHE is working for that GREAT STATE OF KANSAS!!! alright you people of Kansas, vited her in, now let's show some back bone and back her on these financial issues that Washington D.C. is looking at., I never want to have a run of 2001-2009, let we had! and believe me? until I die, I will remind you great STATE OF Kansas, since, I am right next door! a Missourian!!! help out your sister that you voted for, why should I, a Missourian-but don't get me wrong, I am glad to write for her, but like I tell the Iraquians-YOU DO IT!!! I LOVE YA-GREAT STATE OF THE UNION-KANSAS!!! a humble, missourian-janair williams sr., pray for me, as I pray for you.

Posted by: Janair Williams Sr. | April 25, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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