By KENDALL KARSON and SOO RIN KIM, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — House Democrats are outpacing their own previous fundraising records, bringing in nearly $40 million in the second quarter — a signal of both the party’s enthusiasm in the final stretch of the cycle ahead of November and the difficult road ahead for the GOP seeking to take back the majority.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for Democrats in the lower chamber, raised a whopping $39 million over the last three months, besting its previous record for the second reporting period of the year.
In 2018, the House fell to Democrats after an eight year drought in the minority. They gained a 40-seat majority, propelled by unprecedented fundraising. That year, the party raised $37.7 million in the second quarter.
“Our second quarter fundraising is proof that Democrats across the country know what is at stake in this election and they are digging deep to ensure we not only protect, but also expand the House Democratic majority. Our record-breaking second quarter haul allows us to continue pushing deeper into Republican-held territory,” Cheri Bustos, the chairwoman of the DCCC, said in a statement.
The DCCC is taking a more aggressive posture this cycle, seeking to go on offense to expand the battlefield deeper into red districts. In reliably red Texas, which held runoff elections on Tuesday night, matchups were settled in some of Democrats’ top targets on the map.
The party is looking to at least seven districts across the suburbs in the Lone Star State to build on their majority, after now Reps. Colin Allred and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher successfully flipped districts in the Dallas and Houston suburbs, respectively.
The campaign apparatus now heads into the closing four months of the campaign with $94 million in the bank, which is nearly $26 million more than their total at this point in the race two years ago.
The haul lands on top of the fundraising totals from some of Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents facing tough re-elections this year. According to the party, 37 of the 42 Frontline Democrats raised more than $500,000 in the second quarter, and 34 closed out the period with more than $2 million on hand.
Democratic challengers across the battlefield are stockpiling cash, reporting more than $37 million on hand in the second quarter, and at least 25 challengers raised more than $500,000.
“While Republicans continue their attacks on Americans’ health care in the midst of a pandemic, folks at the grassroots have put us in a position to hold Republicans accountable for their recklessness,” Bustos said, underscoring the party’s focus on health care, their signature message anchoring their strategy. “Nothing less than the health of our country is on the line.”
The latest totals come as the country battles a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has transformed the entire 2020 campaign. In May, House Democrats unveiled a “Virtual Action Center,” a one-stop shop for virtual organizing, in response to the campaign trail shifting to the digital sphere.
But the virus does not appear to have significantly impeded fundraising.
The second quarter total is only slightly less than the $43.5 million House Democrats raised during the first three months of the year.
The new numbers come as the filing period for candidates ends on Wednesday, but the party committees, which file monthly reports, have until July 20 to file.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the counterpart for the House GOP, has not yet disclosed its fundraising totals for the quarter but in two of the three months of the quarter, Republicans raised $22 million, twice the amount they raised during the same period in 2018.
In the first quarter this year, the GOP raked in a total of $39.3 million, a record first quarter fundraising for the Republican committee.
In 2016, when Republicans retained control of the House but Democrats made some modest gains across several states, the party raised $20.9 million in the second quarter.
And in 2010, the year of Democrats’ “shellacking” when House Republicans gained more than 60 seats, the National Republican Congressional Committee, NRCC, brought in $21.7 million in the period that stretches from April to June.
The most recent public filings, which cover the end of May, show Democrats with a cash-on-hand advantage of more than $31 million.
As the two House campaign arms duel over their competing war chests, House Republicans have been trailing Democrats in the past decade.
But in January, the NRCC outraised the DCCC in a single month, breaking a nearly two year streak. A NRCC spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the House Republicans’ campaign committee brought in $12.6 million in the first month of the year, which was more than the DCCC’s $12.1 million over that same period, despite House Democrats beating their previous record for January by $2.8 million.
The GOP’s haul came amid a contentious month with President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, and on the heels of NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, issuing a dire warning to Republicans in January.
“Our members need to get their act together and raise more money,” he said. “The individual campaigns need to raise more money. They cannot expect somebody else is going to do it for them.”
In May, Trump Victory, the joint fundraising effort between the Trump campaign and RNC, announced a fundraising venture with House Republicans in mid-May.
The “House Congressional Captains” program aims to boost fundraising efforts for the party up and down the ballot in 2020. Nearly two-dozen House Republicans are captains for the program across nine “regions,” in an effort to use “their experience and personal contacts” to boost the committee’s fundraising moving forward.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy serves as the captain of the program, with Reps. Devin Nunes, Ken Calvert, Jim Jordan, Liz Cheney, the No.3 Republican in the House, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise serving as co-captains.
ABC News’ Will Steakin contributed reporting.
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