Newspaper article Roll Call

4 Things to Watch for in Third-Quarter Fundraising

Newspaper article Roll Call

4 Things to Watch for in Third-Quarter Fundraising

Article excerpt

Rival campaigns and political handicappers are anxiously awaiting third-quarter fundraising numbers -- due this week -- to assess the competitiveness of candidates and contests.

The quarterly hauls will paint a picture of the kind of support and resources campaigns have -- or lack. And as the window closes on recruiting candidates, these numbers could also be what makes top recruits decide to jump into races, or to sit them out.

The reports cover the period from July 1 through Sept. 30. Members of Congress and candidates have until Oct. 15 to report numbers to the Federal Election Commission. In the meantime, here are the four things to watch for as reports trickle in:

1. Will unendorsed Democratic Senate candidates prove the establishment wrong? The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed a handful of candidates in top Senate pickup opportunities this cycle. The committee said the endorsed candidates have the best shot at victory in November 2016, when Democrats will seek to net five seats to ensure Senate control.

Yet some candidates who didn't receive the endorsement have criticized the DSCC. They include former Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp, who has publicly complained that the DSCC endorsed Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the must-win Illinois race without hearing out why Zopp thought she'd be a good contender.

Zopp's complaints will mean little to nothing, however, if she doesn't have the resources to compete. Zopp's third-quarter haul, her first as a candidate, will determine whether she has a soap box to stand on.

In Ohio, Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld has also criticized the Democratic party establishment for backing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in the primary. Both are seeking to face GOP Sen. Rob Portman in this competitive state next November.

But Sittenfeld saw the fundraising faucet turn off last quarter, after the DSCC endorsed Strickland. It would be notable if Sittenfeld found a way to find a new campaign revenue stream in the third quarter -- or if his numbers continued to sag, making his nomination hopes look like even more of a long shot.

2. Who will come out ahead in Florida's crowded open-seat Senate race? The Sunshine State's Senate seat, left vacant thanks to Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid, is one of the most crowded and contentious Senate primaries on either side of the aisle. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/ Roll Call -- a rating that could change depending on which candidates emerge as nominee next summer.

On the Democratic side, the fundraising race between fellow Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson will be an early indicator for how competitive the primary contest will be.

Murphy is backed by national Democrats, who say he has the kind of moderate profile to win statewide. …

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