Fundraising Heros and Zeros
Campaign fundraising reports for the first three months of 2009 were due at the Federal Election Commission yesterday.
This is one of the Fix's favorite parts of the year (yes, we are well aware of how lame that is) -- combing through stacks of numbers to sort out who won, who lost and who isn't even really trying.
The reports continue to come in -- for some reason the Senate still doesn't file their reports electronically -- but here's our first cut at the heros and zeros from the first fundraising quarter.
A caveat: We reserve the right to revise and extend these thoughts over the next few days. Have suggestions of who we missed? The comments section is open for business.
Joe Sestak: We had heard rumors that the Pennsylvania House Democrat was making a major fundraising push in the first quarter to position himself for a potential race for Senate. Mission accomplished. Sestak raised $550,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31 and now is sitting on a whopping $3.3 million war chest. (Honorary mention to Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who, like Sestak, is reconsidering a Senate bid in Pennsylvania; she raised just short of $400,000 and has more than $2 million on hand.)
Mitt Romney: Like him or hate him, you have got to give the former Massachusetts governor his due -- he can raise money with the best of them. Romney collected $300,000 for his Free and Strong America PAC in March, bringing his total fundraising for the organization to more than $870,000 for the year. Romney will, without doubt, set the pace for the 2012 Republican presidential field -- the standard by which all cash-collection for GOPers will be measured.
Alexi Giannoulias: The Illinois state Treasurer established himself as the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nomination in 2010 by raising more than $1 million in roughly a month of active fundraising. He was helped by the fact that Sen. Roland Burris (D) decided -- inexplicably -- not to raise money in the first quarter.
Rob Portman: National Republicans promised that the former Ohio Congressman was a star in the making and, in the first quarter at least, he delivered on that promise. Portman's $3 plus million raised total was slightly misleading as it included a $1.4 million transfer from his old House account but the $1.7 million he collected in the first three months of the year are damn impressive anyway.
Mark Kirk: The Illinois Republican is trying to decide whether to run for governor or Senate (or neither) in 2010 and his first quarter numbers -- $696,000 raised -- showed that he would be a formidable presence in either contest.
Roy Blunt: For a former member of the House Republican leadership who is allegedly the pick of the Missouri party establishment for the state's open seat race, Blunt's $542,000 did not impress -- especially when compared to the $1 million plus Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) collected in the same time period. If there was any doubt whether former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman would run for the GOP nod, there shouldn't be now.
Jennifer Brunner: The Ohio Secretary of State got outraised at a roughly five to one clip by Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the first real skirmish of their Democratic primary fight. Unless Brunner picks it up considerably over the next three months, expect establishment Democrats to begin to pressure her to reconsider the race.
Palin Watchers: The Alaska governor's "Sarahpac" isn't filing a report until July -- taking advantage of new disclosure requirements at the FEC. That means we have to wait three more months to figure out whether or not she can transfer the energy for her among grassroots GOPers into actual campaign dollars.
Jim Bunning: You can't say that the Kentucky Republican didn't warn us. Bunning told reporters recently that his fundraising was going "lousy" and he didn't disappoint with just $263,000 raised in the first quarter of 2009. While Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) didn't blow the doors off with $430,000 raised in his first quarter as a Senate candidate, he is already in a stronger cash position that Bunning. Um, not good.
Rob Simmons: Knowing he was going to be running against embattled Sen. Chris Dodd (D) and with poll numbers showing he was well ahead of the incumbent, wouldn't it make sense for Simmons to seed his Senate account with a few hundred thousand dollars raised for the first quarter? Apparently not. Simmons reportedly didn't raise any "meaningful" money in the first three months of the year; Dodd, for his part, raised more than $1 million.
April 16, 2009; 2:18 PM ET
Categories: Eye on 2012 , House , Senate
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