After a long primary season and an unpredictable campaign, Democrats are preparing for the midterm elections with an emphasis on their ability to win in blue districts. But the party faces a financial crunch that could slow down their efforts.
The Democratic Midterm Victory Fund aims to help candidates build up a strong foundation for victory, as well as mobilize their supporters. Specifically, the group plans to fund state-based organizations that work year-round on transformative organizing, voter engagement and government reform.
Big donors are backing Dems’ efforts to regain control of the House and Senate. The Democratic National Committee has received a total of $82.5 million in donations this election cycle, and is expected to collect a record $134.6 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
While the DCCC and other party groups are working to increase transparency in fundraising, a trove of secret money is still flowing to left-wing organizations that operate outside of the rules of public transparency. A slew of nonprofits, most of them funded by big donors, are raising and spending millions of dollars on advertising, research, and other campaign activities that aren’t subject to disclosure rules.
In recent months, a new wave of ultra-wealthy donors has come on board with the aim of making sure that Democrats remain in power. The influx of funds from these mega-donors has been especially dramatic after President Trump’s election.
With the aid of this money, Democrats have fended off right-wing challengers in a series of governor’s races, and they have defended two competitive Senate seats, including one held by Maggie Hassan. And they have flipped several seats in the House, defeating right-wingers who were in the race for their party’s nomination.
The big-money advantage is also bolstering incumbents, such as Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada senator who raised $4.4 million in the first quarter of 2022. She is well-positioned to defend herself against Adam Laxalt, a former state attorney general who has been suckered into a series of controversial attacks.
Another candidate, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, has raised a similar amount in the first quarter, and he has about $6.5 million in the bank. He’s been supported by several businessmen who have loaned him the money, and he’s a heavy favorite in the race.
Meanwhile, a key Senate race in Arizona has been dragged out by a series of legal disputes between the candidate and her opponent. The battle, which will cost the Senate Majority PAC more than $1 million, has drawn attention from both parties and is causing anxiety in the political community.
As they push for the House, Senate and White House, Democrats are focusing on their ability to win elections in solidly blue districts. But they’re also triaging resources to protect candidates who have the potential to hold onto contested seats, such as Biden’s district in Oregon, where he carried by nine points but is being challenged by a challenger who ousted a moderate congressman in the primary.