Wealthy donors fuel GOP cash edge in midterms home stretch

Wealthy donors, led by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, are helping fuel a cash advantage for Republicans in ...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 1:44 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 1:44 AM

Wealthy donors, led by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, are helping fuel a cash advantage for Republicans in the homestretch to next month's midterm elections.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated a staggering $112 million through the end of September to super PACs focused on federal races, cementing the family's position as the Republican Party's largest benefactors.

Campaign finance

Demographic groups

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Midterm elections

Political Action Committees

Political candidates

Political donations and fundraising

Political organizations

Politics

Population and demographics

Society

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US House elections

US House of Representatives

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

Wealthy people

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

The couple's last-minute contributions in September alone sent a combined $45 million into the two leading political action committees working to keep Congress in Republican hands.

The Adelsons' $25 million contribution to one of the groups -- the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- accounted for two-thirds of the money Senate Leadership raised last month. The McConnell-linked PAC started October with $46.8 million available to spend in the final stretch to election day, nearly $8 million more than its rival Democratic group.

The actions by Republican mega-donors come as energized liberal donors flood the campaign accounts of individual Democratic candidates. Both parties are waging an intense battle for the House, where Democrats need to flip just 23 seats to seize the chamber.

A CNN analysis of candidate fundraising in the July-to-September quarter found Democratic House candidates sweeping past their Republican rivals in 57 of 61 competitive House races. Together, Democrats in these close races -- rated by CNN as either tossups or leaning Democratic or Republican -- raised $126.8 million during the three-month period, nearly three times the $44.7 million raised by GOP candidates in these contests.

"Republican donors are trying to level the playing field against an avalanche of special interest cash" benefiting the left, Republican strategist Brian Baker said of GOP contributor activity. Using a theme common among Republicans and President Donald Trump, Baker characterized Democratic activists as a "mob" aimed at "stopping all the progress that has been made in the last two years" under Trump's watch.

Another potential firewall for vulnerable Republicans: the cash stockpiled by party committees. The three main GOP campaign committees, the Republican National Committee and its House and Senate campaign arms, entered October and the final sprint to the election with nearly $111 million stashed in their bank accounts.

Democratic party committees had far less cash on hand: $63.4 million.

In all, the six Republican and Democratic party committees focused on federal races have collected nearly $1 billion since the start of the election cycle and have spent nearly as much -- $900 million.

Wealthy Democrats also have opened up their wallets. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential 2020 White House contender who recently rejoined the party, gave $5 million to his own super PAC last month, new filings show. He's already committed to spending $100 million to help Democrats secure congressional majorities.

Other wealthy Democrats also are helping underwrite the party's super PACs. Hedge funder James Simons, for instance, gave a combined $4.7 million to the Democratic-aligned super PACs focused on Congress, the House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, also known at SMP.

No donors, however, have come close to the Adelsons in this election cycle.

The frenzied fundraising pace set by parties, super PACs and candidates this year is expected to push midterm spending past $5 billion, making it the most expensive congressional election in US history, according to a projection by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money.

Only two previous congressional elections -- those in 2016 and 2010 -- surpassed the $4 billion mark when the figures were adjusted for inflation, the group found.

"There's an intensity to these midterm elections that has been boiling since Election Day 2016," the Center for Responsive Politics' Sheila Krumholz said, pointing to the marches and protests from liberal groups since Trump's inauguration.

But the small-donor enthusiasm feeding the campaign accounts of Democrats "may not matter as much" on Election Day if one or two large Republican donors can fill the financial gap, she said.

Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Robinson
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 32°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 36°
Paris
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 38°
Mattoon/Charleston
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 33°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Cold, Patchy Frost
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1285298

Reported Deaths: 23826
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5150759776
DuPage852721242
Will70754954
Lake63931960
Kane54789749
Winnebago30463457
Madison29638512
St. Clair26990500
McHenry26537276
Peoria20450276
Champaign19531136
Sangamon17479229
McLean16500169
Tazewell15507252
Rock Island14100303
Kankakee13332196
Kendall1211990
LaSalle11594228
Macon10098189
DeKalb9079118
Vermilion8976123
Adams8132116
Williamson7166125
Whiteside6698161
Boone629671
Clinton569190
Ogle566678
Grundy555971
Coles548294
Knox5243136
Jackson482763
Effingham465771
Henry465461
Macoupin455781
Livingston454383
Stephenson444879
Marion4377114
Franklin430970
Woodford430562
Monroe429690
Jefferson4127118
Randolph407584
Lee389349
Morgan373779
Montgomery363472
Logan358356
Fulton356050
Bureau350080
Christian348371
Perry312859
Fayette312654
Iroquois288364
Jersey260248
Douglas253635
McDonough251742
Saline246853
Lawrence238625
Shelby223837
Union222840
Crawford208425
Bond196024
Cass194324
Pike174951
Clark174332
Jo Daviess173924
Wayne172551
Warren172146
Hancock171430
Richland170639
Carroll168335
Ford168146
White166326
Edgar165639
Washington162225
Moultrie155825
Clay147042
Greene141932
Piatt140814
Mason139841
Johnson138314
De Witt136523
Mercer134433
Wabash134112
Massac130939
Cumberland127819
Menard117211
Jasper114017
Marshall96517
Hamilton81615
Schuyler6935
Brown6846
Pulaski6787
Stark59823
Edwards54812
Henderson51914
Calhoun5072
Scott4671
Alexander46210
Gallatin4534
Putnam4393
Hardin36512
Pope3043
Out of IL20
Unassigned02286

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 700775

Reported Deaths: 13167
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion956451709
Lake51038935
Allen38781670
Hamilton34153404
St. Joseph33552538
Elkhart26950431
Vanderburgh21987393
Tippecanoe21560212
Johnson17387373
Porter17124297
Hendricks16690309
Clark12628190
Madison12271337
Vigo12126243
Monroe11302166
LaPorte10716204
Delaware10271184
Howard9590211
Kosciusko9037113
Hancock7896139
Bartholomew7824153
Warrick7665155
Floyd7526176
Wayne6865197
Grant6753168
Boone651099
Morgan6356138
Dubois6060117
Marshall5729108
Cass5662102
Dearborn566175
Henry5554100
Noble535583
Jackson490769
Shelby476095
Lawrence4322118
Gibson426188
Harrison425770
Montgomery415586
Clinton414753
DeKalb404883
Huntington375180
Whitley373939
Miami370865
Knox364689
Steuben360757
Putnam351460
Wabash345777
Jasper343746
Adams337452
Ripley332868
Jefferson307479
White306654
Daviess288299
Wells284480
Decatur278592
Fayette276962
Greene269385
Posey268033
Scott259053
Clay251544
LaGrange250170
Randolph234179
Washington229629
Spencer227331
Jennings224247
Fountain207445
Sullivan207341
Starke200352
Owen191056
Fulton190039
Jay185329
Carroll184820
Perry178936
Orange176152
Rush169824
Vermillion165643
Franklin165135
Tipton160843
Parke143616
Blackford132431
Pike129834
Pulaski112845
Newton102834
Brown99340
Crawford96914
Benton95313
Martin82215
Warren78815
Switzerland7698
Union69510
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405