Congressional incumbents raised nearly $2B for reelections and 95% won
Members of Congress raised nearly $1.8 billion collectively for their reelections during the 2020 campaign, with incumbent representatives hauling in $1.1 billion and senators collecting $674 million.
According to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings conducted by Issue One, a nonpartisan group that advocates for good governance, Democratic and Republican House incumbents raised a median of $1.7 million over the two-year election cycle. That amounted to approximately $2,400 per day for “typical” House members and $7,200 daily for incumbents running in competitive contests rated as “toss-ups” by political handicappers.
In the Senate, incumbents of both parties on the 2020 ballot raised a median of $13.2 million between January 2019 and November of this year. That equaled about $19,100 per day for each, with three senators shattering that average by bringing in $95,600 daily. Fundraising standouts in the Senate this cycle included Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Republicans at the top of the Democratic Party’s target list.
Appointed incumbent Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican, was the third top fundraising performer. However, she was defeated in a special election by Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat who took office a few weeks following the Nov. 3 elections. According to FEC filings, McSally brought in $73.7 million for her campaign. McConnell raised $64.1 million, and Graham’s haul totaled a whopping $104.8 million.
All three Republicans were forced to fend off hundreds of millions of dollars in attacks by their Democratic challengers and aligned political groups.
In fact, the Democratic challenger in each race collected even more than the GOP incumbents in what turned out to be losing efforts, Kelly excepted. The Arizona Democrat raised $100.3 million in his victory over McSally. Meanwhile, McConnell challenger Amy McGrath raised $96.3 million and Graham challenger Jaime Harrison raised $132.7 million. It was a drop in the bucket, considering that total spending on the 2020 campaign, across all candidates and political groups, reached $14 billion.
Among the other files compiled by Issue One: 95% of congressional incumbents won reelection last month, 89% of congressional incumbents had their own political action committees to bolster their fundraising efforts, and 46% of the 60 new House members who will be sworn into office on Jan. 3 have already formed a leadership PAC to boost fundraising heading into the 2022 midterm elections.
That campaign is already underway.
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