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The Five Most Important Senate Fundraising Reports

At midnight tonight, the first fundraising quarter of the year comes to a close, bringing to an end a make or break three months for many federal candidates around the country.

A surprisingly strong quarter can turn what looked like a longshot into the next big thing. (See Rubio, Marco.) A disappointing last three months can spell the beginning of the end (or the end of the end) for a candidate.

Given the deluge of numbers that will be flying our way over the next 24 to 48 hours, it seemed useful to offer up five specific Senate candidates who have the most to gain (or lose) in their fundraising reports.

Have suggestions of candidates we missed? The comments section awaits.

* Bill Halter: The buzz around Halter's candidacy is that he is going to post an eye-popping number despite being in the primary race against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) for just one month. (He officially announced on March 1.) Halter has quickly become the darling of national liberal groups, four of whom helped raised $1 million for him in the space of 36 hours. Lincoln's major advantage in the May 18 primary has long been the $5 million she has in her campaign account. If Halter, who is currently the state's lieutenant governor, is able to halve that margin (or come close to it) in the space of a month, it will make Lincoln's already tough race that much more difficult.

* Charlie Crist: Even as Crist saw his fortunes tumble in his primary fight against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, he was still able to fundraise (and fundraise and fundraise). In the final three months of the year, Crist raised $2.1 million -- roughly $400,000 more than Rubio -- and ended the period with $7.5 million on hand. With Rubio, who has become a national conservative darling in recent months, expected to have a HUGE quarter, it seems possible that Crist will be outraised -- a dangerous precedent as the governor seeks to rebuild some semblance of momentum in advance of the state's Aug. 24 primary. One thing that should comfort Crist: he is certain to retain a cash on hand edge, having closed 2009 with $7.5 million(!) in the bank as compared to $2.1 million for Rubio.

* Lee Fisher: National Democrats acknowledge that Fisher's campaign didn't get off to the best start but note that he now has a new team in place -- including campaign manager Jay Howser -- and the latest Quinnipiac poll shows him leading former Rep. Rob Portman (R). True enough. But, Ohio is a big and expensive state in which to run for Senate, and, at the end of 2009, Portman had $6 million in the bank while Fisher, who is currently the lieutenant governor, had just $1.8 million. Fisher's establishment support and money edge over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner should carry him through the May 4 primary but he needs to have had a big first quarter to build momentum as the general election starts in earnest.

* Kelly Ayotte: New Hampshire isn't the easiest place in the world to raise the millions of dollars one needs to run for Senate but when you are running against a multimillionaire there isn't much room for excuses. Welcome to the world of Kelly Ayotte, the former state Attorney General and favorite of the Washington political establishment. Ayotte raised a decent but far from spectacular $631,000 in the final three months of 2009 even as wealthy businessman Bill Binnie was dumping over $1 million of his own dollars into the race. Binnie, who apparently is committed to spending more from his own pocket, is already up on television with ads introducing himself to voters. Ayotte won't be able to compete directly with Binnie's check book but she needs a strong fundraising quarter to keep the title of frontrunner -- on which she currently has a somewhat precarious hold.

* Andrew Romanoff: Romanoff, the former speaker of the Colorado state House, drew some positive press when he beat appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in the state's Democratic caucuses earlier this month. But, that victory will be rendered almost entirely meaningless if Romanoff can't show an ability to stay within financial shouting distance of Bennet in advance of their primary faceoff in August. Bennet raised $1.16 million in the final quarter of 2009 and had President Barack Obama in to raise money for him last month. Romanoff, on the other hand, brought in just $337,000 over the last quarter of 2009 of fundraising -- not nearly enough to reach the far broader primary electorate in a meaningful way. Romanoff need a better quarter to make a credible case that he can take Bennet down later this summer.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 31, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Suzy


For some odd reason, broadwayjoe thinks that Chris should say something positive about Obama every hour of every day - like he is chanting after reading some self-help book.

broadwayjoe what is wrong with you


broadwrongjoe

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe

Rasmussen has Obama's approval rating at 48% AND SINKING

CASE IS FAR FROM CLOSED.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Just for comparison, Obama's Republican predecessor left office with an approval rating of 18%. Bush I believe his name was, George W.

Noacoler
clearin' brush

Posted by: Noacoler | March 31, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Cup, Fix's employer, the Post, just conducted a poll showing BHO at 53%.
Research 2000 has him at 56%. Case closed.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 31, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I also think the Hayworth in AZ will be interesting as well. If he can get enough cash to make McCain sweat it could get interesting in the Grand Canyon state.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 31, 2010 3:11 PM

A rancher was recently found shot dead near the Mexico border. Since the murder is attributed to illegals or smugglers, this should bring immigration back to the forefront in Arizona and make McCain squirm. McCain is a creep and I would love to see JD whip his butt. McCain and Specter can have a joint retirement party.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 31, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

No positive mention of the 44th President of the United States (who is at 56% approval, Research 2000, BTW). Check.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 31, 2010 7:31 PM


Positive mention?? Rasmussen shows that over half those surveyed disapprove of obama. It's even worse for obama among independents. 80% of the polls released by Research 2000 are done for the Daily Kos. Any wonder why it would show obama in a favorable light?

Broadwayjoe, biased polls are worthless, as is the Daily Kos itself. Mr Cillizza has it right on. There is nothing positive to mention about obama.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 31, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Just 1 check today...seriously.

No positive mention of the 44th President of the United States (who is at 56% approval, Research 2000, BTW). Check.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 31, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It would be reasonable, I think, to presume that Lee Fisher's fundraising ability -- or Jennifer Brunner's, if she can pull off the upset -- will see a marked increase once the primary is over and the Democratic establishment has a candidate behind whom it can comfortably settle. So in that regard, I'm not sure how enlightening this next set of campaign finance reports will be, as they will represent the fundraising that occurred during the primary fight -- funds raised explicitly for either Fisher or Brunner, rather than explicitly against Rob Portman.

'Course, if Portman absolutely blows Fisher out of the water in terms of fundraising, it might turn some heads. All speculation about Fisher's fundraising ability aside, there's no doubt that Portman does a fantastic job of raising campaign cash, so if there's not much of a gap between him and Fisher (or Brunner), it won't garner much notice -- but if there's a big gap, it will set the local Democratic leadership to worrying and let Portman send out that vibe of inevitability that political candidates so love to send out.

Point is, I don't think anyone will be looking at Fisher's campaign finance reports to see if he can hang with Portman in fundraising ability; even if he can, which I doubt, it won't be obvious yet. Once we have a settled Democratic candidate in Ohio, that's when a look at Fisher's finances will be enlightening.

If anyone wants to suggest a fundraising report that Chris didn't already list, you have my blessing as an Ohioan to have it replace Fisher's on the Fix's list.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | March 31, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

WHEN WILL 'THE FIX' DRILL DOWN ON OBAMA'S COASTAL ENVIRO-BETRAYAL?

Process, process, process.

Meanwhile, President Obama takes a sharp turn right, at a time when he could have consolidated the base. Not one GOP vote for health care, yet he capitulates to offshore East and Gulf Coast drilling, a scheme that could see drilling off Virginia beaches within two years.

Chris, are you there? Hel-lo?

Hey, there's even a Sarah Palin hook here.

With your indulgence, I re-post this initial reaction:

News Item: OBAMA OKAYS DRILLING JUST 50 MILES OFFSHORE FROM EAST COAST AND GULF BEACHES.

• Off-VA site could be drill-ready within two years.

WAIT -- I HAVE A VISION:

It's the height of the 2012 presidential campaign. President Obama, his coffers overflowing with a new infusion of oil money, is fighting for his political life, trying to retain his party's razor-thin majority in Congress. (The 2010 elections saw major GOP gains.)

And then comes the news flash: An off-shore drilling rig suffers a pipeline break, and a giant oil slick washes up on the East Coast's family beaches, from Virginia to the New Jersey coast and all points in between. The thick, oozing oil results in a massive fish and bird kill; clogs inlets and storm sewer outlets; ruins beaches; and destroys a multimillion-dollar tourist economy.

The New York Post publishes a cartoon depicting President Obama as an oil-soaked East Coast shore bird, unable to fly, his "wings" fouled with a thick coat of oil.

The Obama camp cries foul (fowl?). Environmentalists get it.

An investigation can't rule out sabotage, but administration officials also float the idea that the pipeline may have been constructed with cheap, inferior bolts and nuts imported from China.

President Obama promptly announces the formation of a commission intended to impose strict new government regulations on the quality of Chinese fasteners.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wins the presidential election in a landslide -- a Republican tidal wave that the pundits attribute to Obama's decision to open the East and Gulf Coasts to offshore drilling.

Sarah Palin is spotted trying to hide a telling smirk; her "drill, baby, drill!" strategy has yielded what some might call unintended consequences.

***

== Has President Obama Been Targeted for Silent Microwave Entrainment? ==

This is not a joke. Please read the "comments" section of the following article by a mainstream journalist who has exposed the U.S. government's covert cell tower- based domestic microwave "directed energy weapon" attack system -- being used to assault "targeted" U.S. citizens with damaging, debilitating microwaves and other radio frequencies:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "U.S. Silently..." and "Gestapo USA").

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 31, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Reason5's post. So good, it had to be said twice. ;-)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 31, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

LET ME BE CLEAR - OBAMA'S TAXES ARE A JOBS KILLER.


This health care bill places BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars of OBAMA TAXES on the economy.


This is going to SLOW THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY.


This will cause massive parts of the health care bill TO BE REPEALED.


Let's think about it too: WHAT PART OF HEALTH CARE IS "INTERSTATE COMMERCE?"


Finally, the Courts can take a look at that question and ANSWER IT.


Let's take the "tanning tax" - what part of tanning is interstate commerce?


It just goes to the extreme - to show one that federal government is too far out there in the definition of "interstate commerce."


In fact, they have CEASED TO HAVE A DEFINITION OF "INTERSTATE COMMERCE."


Instead, they say, it means anything they want it to mean.


Well, it doesn't work that way.


.

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

How about US Congressman Joe Sestek's fundraising. That will be huge as to keeping up with Senator Specter as he has lots of cash on hand already, plus establishment support in his fight for the Democratic nomination. If Sestek can be close to Specter in fundraising, it gives him a shot to win. If he sputters, Specter will overwhelm him termendously in the next 2 months and put himself on the way to the nomination. Those 5 you have up are very important, however. I'd also say in Michigan fundraising matters: US Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Attorney General Mike Cox needs money to compete financially with businessman Rick Snyder. Also, the South Carolina Republican Governor's primary will be huge to watch for it's implications on 2010 and 2012: Attorney General McMaster, US Rep. Barlett, Lt. Gov. Bauer and St. Rep. Haley all need money in what is going to be a tough fight down to the wire for the Republican governor's primary.

Posted by: reason5 | March 31, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How about US Congressman Joe Sestek's fundraising. That will be huge as to keeping up with Senator Specter as he has lots of cash on hand already, plus establishment support in his fight for the Democratic nomination. If Sestek can be close to Specter in fundraising, it gives him a shot to win. If he sputters, Specter will overwhelm him termendously in the next 2 months and put himself on the way to the nomination. Those 5 you have up are very important, however. I'd also say in Michigan fundraising matters: US Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Attorney General Mike Cox needs money to compete financially with businessman Rick Snyder. Also, the South Carolina Republican Governor's primary will be huge to watch for it's implications on 2010 and 2012: Attorney General McMaster, US Rep. Barlett, Lt. Gov. Bauer and St. Rep. Haley all need money in what is going to be a tough fight down to the wire for the Republican governor's primary.

Posted by: reason5 | March 31, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I also think the Hayworth in AZ will be interesting as well. If he can get enough cash to make McCain sweat it could get interesting in the Grand Canyon state.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 31, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

This Christ Rubio thing is off the hook!
All that money...

I sure hope Meek is a good person with lots and lots of energy.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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