'Fundraising difficulties' are 'alarming' the GOP as the midterms draw closer and closer: report

'Fundraising difficulties' are 'alarming' the GOP as the midterms draw closer and closer: report
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During a Wednesday afternoon, September 7 panel discussion on CNN, one of the pundits commented that Republicans will not need a major “red wave” to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms — as Democrats have only a narrow House majority that that they will lose if Republicans enjoy a net gain of five or more seats. Nonetheless, GOP strategists are no doubt disappointed to see polls indicating that 2022 isn’t shaping up to bring the type of massive red wave that they enjoyed in the 1994 and 2010 midterms. And even though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still believes that Republicans will “flip” the House in November, he has acknowledged that Democrats have a good shot at keeping their U.S. Senate majority — or perhaps even expanding it slightly.

Another thing that will come as a disappointment to Republican strategists who were hoping to see their party increase its presence in the House by 40 or 50 seats is a report on GOP fundraising published by Politico on September 8. According to Politico reporter Jessica Piper, online GOP fundraising has fallen short of expectations in 2022.

“The number of online donors to the Republican Party unexpectedly dropped in the first half of 2022, according to a Politico analysis of campaign finance data — one in a series of setbacks that have tempered expectations of a red wave in November,” Piper reports. “Online fundraising usually ramps up dramatically and predictably over the course of an election cycle. But campaign finance data show that in the first half of this year, the number of people giving federal contributions to Republican candidates and committees through WinRed — the GOP’s widely used donation processing platform — fell to around 913,000 down from roughly 956,000 contributors during the six months prior.”

READ MORE: How GOP extremism may boost Democrats' midterms prospects

Piper adds, “The surprising dip illustrates broader fundraising difficulties that have plagued GOP candidates in key races across the country this summer, even amid hopes that the party could retake control of Congress. It reflects the party’s long-standing challenges in building donor lists to power its campaigns.”

The GOP’s “drop in donor numbers” in 2022, according to Piper, “means” that “some people who had previously contributed to GOP candidates stopped giving, and Republicans did not recruit enough new donors to replace them.”

“The dip coincided with a decline in total WinRed fundraising, as well as lower fundraising totals between the first and second quarters for key Republican groups,” Piper observes. “By contrast, the number of donors giving to Democrats through ActBlue, their preferred online donor platform, has increased over the course of the 2022 election cycle, from about 1.9 million who gave through ActBlue to federal committees in the last six months of 2021 to 2.5 million in the first half of 2022. Democratic campaigns have long outraised their Republican counterparts online, though (Donald) Trump helped the GOP grow its online base ahead of the 2020 elections.”

Democrats, according to Piper, continue to enjoy an “advantage in online fundraising,” and the Democratic ACTBlue keeps outperforming its GOP counterpart WinRed. But Piper points out that in the 2020 midterms, Republican Sen. Susan Collins “won reelection in blue-leaning Maine despite being outraised more than 2-to-1 by her Democratic challenger,” Sara Gideon.

READ MORE: Why Democrats are not doomed in the midterms

“Fundraising alone does not decide elections, of course,” Piper notes. “Outside groups — often funded by deep-pocketed donors — can close some of the gaps for Republicans. But even those well-funded super PACs and nonprofits have finite resources, and the low online fundraising numbers have alarmed GOP professionals.”

READ MORE: 'Tea leaves': This bellwether special election could preview Democrats' midterm prospects

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