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What political coffers say about campaigns so far

Fundraising numbers show who is getting their message across

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What political coffers say about campaigns so far

The amount of money political candidates raise does not directly correlate with victories at the polls, but it can often indicate how much support a candidate may have going into an election. Here are a few key takeaways from quarterly fundraising reports that the Federal Election Commission made public last week.

House Speaker Mike Johnson—Filling big shoes

Johnson’s predecessor as House speaker was one of the best Republican fundraisers in recent history. So far, Johnson is off to a good start filling the coffers of the GOP Congressional Leadership Fund, which supports House candidates in competitive elections. But he has a long way to go if he hopes to keep pace with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s fundraising in the 2021-2022 election cycle—a window during which McCarthy helped raise $260.5 million for the party.

  • McCarthy’s first three months as speaker: $1.9 million
  • Johnson’s first three months as speaker: $20 million

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries—A long way to go

Johnson isn’t the only one with big shoes to fill; Jeffries follows former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The House Majority PAC, or political action committee, is a key fundraising tool for Democrats. Jeffries is more than halfway to the 2024 presidential election but lags behind his predecessor’s fundraising levels for the HMP.

  • Pelosi 2019-2020: $160.2 million
  • Jeffries 2023: $52.9 million

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—Before and after

Kennedy raised $22.1 million in 2023. He started his presidential campaign as a Democrat but switched to running as an independent on Oct. 9. His individual reported contributions (disclosed yearly donations over $200) show that the shift broadened his appeal with supporters. In the three remaining months of the year, Kennedy eclipsed his donations from the seven previous months.

  • Kennedy from March to Oct. 8: $5.93 million
  • Kennedy from Oct. 9 to Dec. 31: $9.2 million

Sen. Jon Tester—Balance of power

Republicans will campaign heavily against Tester, a Democratic senator in the red state of Montana. The winner of that race could decide the balance of power in the Senate. So far, Tester has already exceeded his efforts in the last six-year election cycle in just five. The Democratic Party and other PACs are likely to raise money for Tester’s 2024 campaign, too.

  • Tester from 2013 through 2018: $21.2 million
  • Tester from 2019 through 2023: $25.2 million

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—Pending decisions

Sinema, a controversial figure among Democrats, hasn’t announced if she intends to seek reelection. Like Tester, her seat could also sway the balance of power in the Senate, but with one major difference: She’s an independent. She’s so far raised about 75 percent of the funds she raised for her last election in 2018—and that’s without making any official announcement to donors about her future plans.

  • Sinema from 2013 to 2018: $22.6 million
  • Sinema from 2019 to 2023: $16.9 million

Biden-district House Republicans—The battlegrounds

There are 17 Republicans in the House of Representatives who won 2022 races in districts that Biden carried in 2020. With the GOP holding a historically slim majority in the House, it needs to pick up new seats in 2024 or win these competitive races.

  • Average funds raised by Biden-district Republicans: $2.56 million
  • Median fundraiser: Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., $2.53 million
  • Highest fundraiser: Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Calif., $4.23 million
  • Lowest fundraiser: Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., $1.62 million

Trump-district House Democrats—Playing for keeps

Democrats only have five seats in districts that Trump won in the 2020 election. If Democrats want to regain control of the House and turn Jeffries from a minority leader into a speaker, these races will play a central role.

  • Average funds raised by Trump-district Democrats: $2.3 million
  • Median fundraiser: Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., $2.58 million
  • Highest fundraiser: Rep. Marie Perez, D-Wash., $2.98 million
  • Lowest fundraiser: Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, $1.28 million

Leo Briceno

Leo is a WORLD politics reporter based in Washington, D.C. He’s a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and has a degree in political journalism from Patrick Henry College.


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