Democrats watching key races that are likely to decide which party controls the U.S. Senate in January 2021 can barely contain their enthusiasm because of record-breaking second-quarter fundraising totals.
Perhaps the most unexpected is the $13.9 million raised by former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, who is seeking to unseat Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a popular veteran Republican incumbent.
Harrison’s April–May–June largesse was nearly double that of donations to Graham’s campaign. Graham, however, still leads in overall contributions in the South Carolina contest with $26 million to Harrison’s $20 million.
But nobody expected Harrison’s surge, prompting him to write on Twitter, “Folks, I am fired up!” surrounded by fire emojis.
“Together, we are going to give Lindsey the fight of his political life. And we are going to win.”
Similar elation is seen in other Senate races. In Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield raised $6 million in the second quarter in her challenge to Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.
In Maine, $9 million rolled into Democrat Sara Gideon’s coffers in the quarter, giving her, at least temporarily, slightly more cash on hand than Republican Sen. Susan Collins. And in North Carolina, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis’s Democrat opponent, Cal Cunningham, pocketed $7.4 million.
The flood of Democrat campaign cash prompted Josh Holmes, former senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to tell the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker, “No question, the environment for Democrats is as good as it gets.”
Jimmy Williams, a former senior economic adviser to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), echoed Holmes, telling The Epoch Times that he has campaign “clients up and down the ballot, at the federal state and local level. Every single one of them is outraising the Republican incumbents they’re running against. The mood against the GOP is bad throughout the country.”
On top of the Democrats’ fundraising success, their special interest allies such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are buying up advertising space to warn specific Senate GOP incumbents to support a proposed $1 trillion bailout for state and local government, or else.
Jim Manley, former communications director for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), cautioned Democrats that, “despite the polling that increasingly shows that Republicans are at risk of losing the Senate, I understand that there is still a long time until the elections and that anything can happen.”
Still, Manley told The Epoch Times, “Money is not going to be a problem for Democrats. The fundraising totals so far are pretty amazing.”
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course.
Gideon, for example, is Maine’s speaker of the House, which hasn’t met in months. Collins’s campaign spokesman Kevin Kelley told The Epoch Times on July 9 that Gideon “spent the past 114 days calling out-of-state billionaires, raising money for her Senate campaign, while Maine’s unemployment system cratered. Thousands of Maine people lost their jobs, and they couldn’t get help from the state.”
Although with the election still more than three months away, and amid continuing violence and crime in major cities following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a now-former Minneapolis policeman, Republicans aren’t quite ready to quit.
Brian Darling, former senior counsel to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and now a Washington-based strategist, thinks excessive enthusiasm now could be dangerous for Democrats.
“Even though Democrats are winning the fundraising race, they still need to topple a number of incumbents to take control of the Senate, and beating incumbents is difficult. The smart money is always on an incumbent to hold a seat,” Darling told The Epoch Times.
“It is actually going to hurt Democrats if there becomes a perception that Democrats are going to easily win the Senate and the White House, because voters will lose the sense of urgency to vote that may impact down-ticket, close races in favor of Republican incumbents,” he said.
More problematic for Democrats is the current gulf between them and mainstream voters, according to extensive polling data compiled by Heritage Action for America (HAFA), the legislative activism component of the Heritage Foundation think tank.
Three out of four Americans oppose replacing private health insurance with a single-payer, government-run health care system, according to HAFA.
Almost the same proportion see socialism as “a bad economic system that leads to bigger government,” and 63 percent describe the immigration problem at the U.S. border as a “national emergency,” HAFA found.
Perhaps most worrisome for the Democrats are the 76 percent who support requiring a doctor to provide health care to a baby that survives an abortion procedure, the 73 percent who view political correctness, aka “Cancel Culture,” as a “major problem,” and the 83 percent who fear continued outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas.
Democrats are heading in opposite directions on all six issues.
But there’s also a warning in the data for Republicans, according to HAFA Executive Director Jessica Anderson. She told The Epoch Times that “a wide majority of Americans oppose the extremism of the left, particularly on issues such as illegal immigration, political correctness, culture, and socialism.
“If senators do their jobs and actually pass the laws that Americans elected them to pass, as well as stand up to the mob on the left, their seats should be safe in the fall. It’s not enough to talk the talk. They need to walk the walk,” Anderson said.
There’s also a presidential election in November, which President Donald Trump “has a 91 percent chance of winning,” according to Stony Brook University professor Helmut Norpoth, whose Primary Model has correctly predicted all but two of the 27 presidential elections since primaries began in 1912.
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc