Even With Ken Griffin’s Support, Senate Republicans Are Losing the Money Race

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Republicans count billionaire Ken Griffin, Chevron Corp., and Occidental Petroleum Corp. among their top donors, but it’s the Democrats in the chamber who are raising the most money by a wide margin.

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Democrats, who risk losing Senate control in one of the toughest election cycles in decades, have the backing of deep-pocketed donors, including hedge fund manager George Soros, Renaissance Technologies founder Jim Simons and billionaire Jeff Skoll, who was the first full-time employee of eBay Inc.

That’s helped Democratic candidates in seven highly contested Senate races, the party’s campaign apparatus and allied super political action committee to build a cash advantage over their Republican opponents at the end of the first quarter, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Democratic Senate candidates in those battleground states collectively had $48.1 million cash in the bank at the end of the first quarter, compared to the $28.2 million their Republican rivals reported, according to the FEC.

The money woes are a headwind for Senate Republicans, who seek to win a majority to pursue legislation to bolster US-Mexico border security and renew expiring tax cuts. It’s also a warning sign for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, who needs to win many of the same states hosting crucial Senate races. In his own race, Trump trails President Joe Biden on fundraising, with less than half the cash on hand as his rival.

Republicans have a strong chance of winning the Senate, where they hold 49 seats and need to flip two for a majority. The GOP is defending just 11 seats, none of which are close races, according to the Cook Political Report. By comparison Democrats are defending 23 seats, many of which will be close, including four races in Montana, Ohio, Nevada and Arizona that Cook Political Report rates as “toss ups.” Democrats are likely to lose the West Virginia seat held by retiring Senator Joe Manchin.

The GOP has two things working in its favor: Reliable mega-donors, including Griffin and the Charles Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity super PAC, who have said they will focus on electing Republicans to Congress in 2024 and wealthy candidates who are able to put some of their own fortunes into their campaigns.

The only Republican candidate running in a competitive race to bring in more money than their Democratic opponent in the first quarter is financial executive Eric Hovde, who is challenging Senator Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin. He did so by loaning $8 million to his election effort.

Read More: Ultra-Rich Recruits Critical to GOP Plan to Capture the Senate

Three other Republicans are partially self-financing their campaigns: Dave McCormick, the former chief executive officer at hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, who is running against Senator Bob Casey in Pennsylvania; Ohio businessman Bernie Moreno, facing Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown; and Bridger Aerospace founder and CEO Tim Sheehy, running against Jon Tester in Montana.

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