In this week’s Political Edge, we look at the GOP House battlefield and where Republicans intend to put Democrats on the defensive. We also delve into a New York Times analysis of the small-dollar donor pools of 2020 Democrats and look at a turnout rate comparison of younger and older voters from the 2018 election.
The Republican House Offensive Battle Map
Last week, the DCCC announced they had named 44 incumbents to their “Frontline” program. Members of the program will receive extra resources from the DCCC as they look to defend their majority. Although the list is mostly comprised of freshmen members, it also includes Trump-district Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Matt Cartwright (PA-08), as well as incumbent Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05). On the same day, the NRCC released a list of 55 Democrat-controlled seats it intends to target. Although there is some crossover, there are a few bits of information to note regarding the Republican House offensive front.
There is only one seat the DCCC has promised to defend that the NRCC is not currently targeting: Rep. Jahana Hayes in Connecticut’s 5th District.
There are 12 seats the NRCC intends to target that the DCCC has not yet added to its Frontline program: AZ-02, FL-07, FL-13, FL-27, IA-02, IL-17, MN-03, MN-07, NY-18, OR-04, VA-10, & WI-03.
Small-Dollar Democratic Donors
For Democrats running for President in 2020, small-dollar fundraising will be key. In the early months of the primary, having a strong foundation of small-dollar contributors not only demonstrates strong grassroots support, but is also an indication of potential voter enthusiasm. In 2016, for example, candidate Donald Trump shattered the record for presidential small-dollar fundraising, and his campaign and affiliated committees continue to raise tens of millions of dollars in increments of $200 or less. The New York Times recently conducted an analysis of six years of FEC filings from ActBlue estimating the size of the online donor armies for current and potential Democratic Presidential candidates. The top 5 candidates are listed below:
Bernie Sanders: According to the analysis, “Sanders would begin a 2020 presidential bid with 2.1 million online donors. The particular power of Mr. Sanders’s list was on display in late December when he emailed supporters with the provocative subject line, ‘If I run.’ That single email netted $299,000 from 11,000 donations, according to a senior Sanders official. That is almost the exact amount that Ms. Warren raised on the day she announced she was entering the race, data shows.” The analysis also notes that 87 percent of Sanders’ donors have not contributed to any other potential 2020 candidate.
2) Beto O’Rourke: Coming in second, O’Rourke “has twice as many online donors as anyone eyeing the race besides Mr. Sanders.” Like Sanders, many of O’Rourke’s donors have not contributed to any other potential 2020 candidate (72 percent).
3) Elizabeth Warren: With the third-highest number of small-dollar donors, Warren has notable strength in New Hampshire, where she edges out O’Rourke. Less than half of Warren’s donors have given only to her, among the potential 2020 field.
4) Kirsten Gillibrand: The analysis conducted by The New York Times notes that, among the field, Gillibrand has done a particularly good job of building up broad national support among small donors. Gillibrand “landed on the leader board despite having not faced a competitive election in recent years” and “actually had slightly more donors who were exclusive to her than Ms. Warren — even though she counted 70,000 fewer donors overall.”
5) Kamala Harris: Rounding out the top 5 was Harris, who raised an impressive $1.5 million online in her first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, a number that rivaled Sanders’ announcement in 2015.
Are Younger Voters Turning Out To Vote More Than Older Voters?
Last week, we highlighted a new Pew Research study looking at the 2020 electorate that showed the growing voting block of Gen X, Millennials, and Gen-Z. These three groups are poised to represent 62% of the voting age population in 2020. Following a 2018 midterm that saw record turnout, especially among young people, The Washington Post’s Martin Wattenburg wondered if the increase in turnout reduced the gap between the turnout rates of young and old Americans. His findings: No.
“Although turnout in 2018 rose substantially, it did so fairly equally in all age categories — leaving the age turnout gap unchanged. The average turnout difference between the youngest and oldest age groups in these three states was 41.3 percent in 2018. That’s not much different from the 42.6 percent gap in 2006.”