Democratic challengers are vastly outraising House Republicans — and the GOP is worried

  • More than 40 House Republicans were outraised by at least one of their Democratic challengers in the last quarter of 2017, Politico reported Monday.
  • More than a dozen of these GOP incumbents have less cash in their coffers than their challengers – an increase from the previous quarter.
  • This is a bad sign for the party, which will likely struggle to hold their majorities in Congress.

The Republican Party just received some bad news for 2018.

More than 40 House Republicans were outraised by at least one of their Democratic challengers in the last quarter of 2017, according to new fundraising data reported by Politico on Monday. More than a dozen of these incumbents have less cash in their coffers than their challengers – an increase from the previous quarter.

This comes on the heels of a wave of retirements of GOP Congress members, many of whom were facing tough reelections in expensive media markets. So far, at least 38 Republican House members have announced they are retiring – compared with just seven Democrats – four have or will resign, and 12 are running for other offices.

By comparison, just four Democratic House incumbents raised less than their Republican challengers. Democrats say the jump in donations to their campaigns is part of a surge in political engagement among liberals following Trump’s election.

Republican Congress members in New York, California, and New Jersey – including New York Rep. John Faso, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett, and California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher – are facing some of the largest funding gaps with their opponents.

And GOP leaders and strategists are worried.

“The only thing that matters is cash on hand, and the Republican incumbent members who have Democratic challengers with a cash-on-hand advantage need to work harder and raise more money,” Corry Bliss, the executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund – the top GOP group focused on winning congressional elections – told Politico.

Perhaps signifying his concern with this year’s elections, President Donald Trump encouraged an audience at a Cincinnati business on Monday to avoid becoming “complacent” about voting in 2018.

“The people that voted for us become complacent a little bit, they’re happy,” he said. “They sort of take it for granted, they sit back, and they get clobbered, because the other people are desperate. … History’s not on our side.”

But national Republican groups, including the Republican National Committee, the Congressional Leadership Fund, and American Action Network, raised significant funds in the year since Trump’s election – a comfort to lawmakers who will need injections of cash into their reelection campaigns from these and other outside groups.