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Democrats Raise Big Money for Midterms

Vince Reinhart

Pop singer Taylor Swift recently got all the credit for a spike in voter registrations after she announced she will support two Democratic candidates in Tennessee. It’s possible that Swift—who has been criticized for being silent about the white supremacists who constructed an elaborate conspiracy theory centered on the “Shake It Off” singer as their “Aryan goddess”—really did inspire 65,000 voter registrations in a 24-hour period through her newfound political interest. Hard to know for sure. But regardless, across the country, the major impetus for a new wave of voters and donors is more likely a reaction to the nomination of alleged sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Nationally, small-donor contributions have helped Democrats outspend Republicans: Democratic House candidates have spent $109 million as opposed to Republican candidates’ $60 million. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent $64 million, as opposed to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $47 million, according to NPR.

A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 77 percent of Democrats said they are “very motivated” to vote in midterms, as opposed to 68 percent of Republicans.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation battle appears to be a significant motivator, as voter enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms has hit its highest point since Morning Consult and Politico began tracking the issue,” said Morning Consult Vice President Tyler Sinclair.

An unusual crowdfunding effort against Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has raised more than $3.6 million on the site CrowdPAC from more than 120,000 donations. The fundraiser was created in August to dissuade Collins from voting to confirm Kavanaugh. But when she voted in favor of Kavanaugh on Friday, the money took on a new role: a pool for an as-yet-undetermined Democratic challenger.

“If she is ok with a credibly accused serial sexual assaulter, a blatant and habitual liar under oath, and a hardcore partisan extremist on the Supreme Court, then she has made her seat on the Senate my business, and I will do what I can to see her out of a job,” one supporter, Alicia Schmitt, wrote on Collins’ fundraiser page.

“If you don’t like who’s in there, vote them out! For failing to protect our healthcare. For failing to protect the voice of victims. For failing time and again to protect the rights of regular people. For failing to listen to her constituents,” another supporter, Michelle Perry, wrote, also on Collins’ fundraiser page.

Prosecutor Andrew Janz, a Democrat who is challenging Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, raised $4.3 million in the third quarter, according to his campaign. Nunes recently criticized protesters who have “been buying into this mob-like mentality of opposing a Supreme Court justice nominee for apparently no reason.” He added: “It looks like total chaos in Washington, D.C., when, really, the opposite is true. We have never had it so good in this country.”

A local GOP official recently made headlines when he wrote of Kansas Democratic House candidate Sharice Davids: “Your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation.” Davids, who is in fact Native American and a lesbian, is having a successful campaign. She has raised $2.7 million this quarter. Last month, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee canceled more than $1 million in planned advertising for her opponent, Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Democratic challengers Elissa Slotkin in Michigan and Amy McGrath in Kentucky have raised $2.6 million and $3.65 million, respectively. According to New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, eight Democratic candidates have raised more than $3 million and 30 have raised more than $2 million.

“It shows you where there’s a lot of energy and momentum,” Lujan said.

Naomi LaChance
Naomi LaChance has written for local newspapers such as the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Berkshire Eagle as well as national outlets including NPR, the Intercept, TYT Network and the Huffington Post. Her…
Naomi LaChance

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