Even though we’re still over a year from the 2020 election, Senate races across the country are starting to take shape. With the second quarter of the year in the books, political operatives are looking closely at fundraising numbers to glean which candidates are viable and which are falling flat. In light of the fundraising announcement, AR/Intel pulled together some of our own thoughts on how the field is shaping up. Looking at over 80 Senate candidates (both incumbents and challengers), we came up with the following superlatives.
Mr. Money in the Bank: Of all the Senate candidates running in 2020, incumbent Texas Senator John Cornyn (R) has the most cash on hand. Cornyn has nearly $9.1 million saved in his war chest and is followed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who have $7.87M and $6.46M respectively.
Most Expensive Race: A recent study from Advertising Analytics predicted that the Arizona Senate race, which will likely feature Democrat Mark Kelly taking on freshman Republican Senator Martha McSally, will see upwards of $50 million in ad spending. The Q2 fundraising numbers for the two candidates would appear to back up that claim. The two candidates brought in the most money among those running in 2020, collectively raising over $7.6 million. Kelly outpaced McSally in Q2, bringing in $4.24M to her $3.4M; he also has about $1.56 million more on hand.
Biggest Disappointment: After Stacy Abrams announced she would not run against Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) next year, Democrats turned to former Columbus, Ga. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson as their next-best-option – or so they thought. Tomlinson seriously underperformed in the second quarter of the year, bringing in just $550K, and her war chest sits at a paltry $330K. Perdue, meanwhile, raised nearly $2 million and has $4.8 million on hand. Tomlinson’s poor performance has prompted Democrats to begin looking for other options in this race; earlier this week, former lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico filed paperwork for a Senate exploratory committee. Democrats hoping to finally capture the elusive Georgia Senate seat will be likely be eyeing her performance over the next few months with keen interest.
Most Contentious Primary: With at least ten Democrats running, it should come as no surprise that the Colorado primary is shaping up to be the most contentious. While many of the candidates running here are having trouble gaining traction on the fundraising circuit, there are several that have raised enough to make the primary interesting. Former state Senator Mike Johnston, who announced his candidacy in January, raised the most out of all the candidates with nearly $1.6 million (he also has the most cash on hand with $2.6 million). Johnston has some steep competition, however. Dan Baer, a former State Department official, got into the race shortly after the end of the first quarter and raised over $1.3 million. There’s also Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the state House, who, despite coming in 4th in the fundraising totals for Q2, is leading in the most recent polls. With other high-profile candidates rumored to be jumping into the race, the competition for contributions in Colorado is only going to become even more competitive as the year goes on.
Candidate To Watch: Michigan businessman John James (R), who lost his U.S. Senate race to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) last year, announced in early June that he would challenge incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI). In under four weeks, James raised an impressive $1.5 million. While he still trails Peters (who raised $2.4 million and has $4.7 million on hand), James could end up being the breakout Senate candidate in 2020.