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.
|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
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