Republicans, Democrats Smash First-Quarter Fundraising Records With Eyes on Midterms

With Democratic control of both the House and Senate hanging by a thread, the largest fundraising committees for Republicans and Democrats in each chamber are seeing record hauls for the first quarter of this year.

Those familiar with fundraising figures for the committees—which are separate from individual candidate's accounts but lead efforts to target vulnerable seats and possible pickups, with an eye on securing majorities in the upcoming midterms—say they've made big gains.

Formal reports for the first fundraising quarter are to be filed with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of the month.

Flush campaign coffers for the Republicans' and Democrats' main fundraising arms in the House and Senate will fuel battles in the states and districts where races will be tight and determine control of the chambers during the second half of President Joe Biden's term.

All House seats are on the ballot next year, with at least seven members so far saying they won't seek re-election (two Democrats and five Republicans). Thirty-four of the 100 Senate seats will be up for election, with at least five GOP incumbents ruling out a reelection bid.

The House has five vacancies, leaving the Democrats with a 218-212 edge over the Republicans. The vacant seats are in districts that are heavily partisan—four toward Democrats and one toward the GOP.

The Democrats hold a much narrower majority in the Senate, with a 50-50 split, plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote.

Republicans are hoping to wrest control of one, or both, of the chambers in the midterm races, which would deal a huge blow to Biden's agenda beyond 2023.

"We've been raising record amounts," House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who campaigns and fundraises for GOP members across the country, told Newsweek. "It shows that people are very concerned with how far left President Biden and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi have gone."

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than $19 million in March, bringing its first-quarter total to $33.7 million.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised about $15.3 million in March, boosting its first-quarter total to $34.1 million—a record first three months in a nonelection year for the House Democrats' main fundraising arm. Democrats cited the recent passage of a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package with no Republican support as key to their success.

"American voters know the stakes in this election are clear," DCCC Chairman Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a statement to Newsweek. "With Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi's leadership, Democrats in Congress just delivered critical economic relief in the American Rescue Plan that is cushioning the pocketbooks of American families, reopening schools and expanding access to a vaccine that will crush the COVID-19 pandemic."

Eye-popping fundraising tallies have also been reported among popular individual candidates from each side of the aisle and their personal committees. For example, Representative Katie Porter, a popular second-term California Democrat, raised more than $2 million in the first quarter of the year. Representative Elise Stefanik, a high-profile third-term New York Republican, raised more than $1.1 million.

In the upper chamber, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $8.3 million in March, bringing the committee's first-quarter total to $23 million.

"We're combining a robust digital fundraising operation with a national network of bundlers who are committed to helping us raise money and win back the Senate," Senator Rick Scott, the Florida Republican who chairs the NRSC, said in a statement.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) declined Newsweek's request for comment on the committee's first-quarter figures, which haven't yet been reported, but touted individual members' successes in a statement.

"Democratic Senators are breaking fundraising records and building their cash on hand in key states across the map," the DSCC said.

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Flush campaign coffers for the Republicans' and Democrats' main fundraising arms in the House and Senate will fuel battles in the states and districts where races will be tight. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP/Getty Images