PITTSBURGH (TNS) — John Fetterman’s campaign war chest is dwarfing the coffers of his opponents early in the race for U.S. Senate.
Fetterman, Pennsylvanian’s Democratic lieutenant governor and former Braddock mayor, has outraised and outspent every other candidate in the crowded field vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, records show.
From Jan. 1 through mid-October, Fetterman raised nearly $9.3 million — at least triple and up to more than 10 times what more than two dozen fellow candidates have raked in thus far, according to forms filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
”That’s a pretty significant difference,” said G. Terry Madonna, senior fellow-in-residence at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. “That puts pressure on the other candidates to raise more money.”
Fetterman’s campaign said the $2.7 million raised in the third quarter of the year came from more than 94,000 individuals — including 24,000 first-time donors.
Fetterman has $4.2 million in cash on hand even after spending $5.1 million, with less than seven months to go before the May 17 primary.
With $2.6 million in contributions, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon, has raised the next largest amount among Democrats, followed by Montgomery CountyCommissioner Valerie Arkoosh ($2.1 million), Philadelphia state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta ($1.2 million), emergency room physician Dr. Kevin Baumlin ($580,000) and Philadelphia state Sen. Sharif Street ($366,000).
On the GOP side, Jeff Bartos, a Lower Merion real estate developer who vied unsuccessfully against Fetterman in the race for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor in 2018, has raised a total of $2.8 million, records show. Trump-backed Sean Parnell, the former Army Ranger and Fox News contributor of Cranberry who challenged Lamb for the House last year, picked up momentum in third quarter and has raised a year-to-date total of $1.68 million. Parnell has nearly $1.1 million on hand, records show.
Corporate finance professor and Fox news commentator Kathy Barnette has a total of $809,000. Republican challenger Carla Sands has nearly $3.6 million in her campaign accounts and $3.2 million in cash — including loaning herself $3.1 million, the latest records show.
None of Fetterman’s campaign money comes from self-financing, according to the FEC records.
Fetterman said that as the year has progressed, “our movement is continuing to grow even bigger.”
”I am blown away by the support we have across the commonwealth, and the fact that we have donations from over 87% of Pennsylvania zip codes is amazing,” he said.
So far, at least 27 candidates have joined the hotly watched Pennsylvania Senate race — 14 Democrats, 12 Republicans and one Libertarian.
The field likely will shrink as the race heats up and fundraising efforts intensify in coming months, according to Madonna. He cautioned that it’s too early to assert that Fetterman’s fundraising lead will hold, or simply assume that it’s Fetterman and Lamb who will remain the Democratic front-runners.
Still, Fetterman’s burgeoning campaign coffers clearly give him an early advantage.
In a state such as Pennsylvania that Madonna said is “complicated geographically,” money is needed to reach suburban and rural areas outside the Democratic-leaning urban hubs of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
”In order to be successful, you have to do radio, you have to do television,” Madonna said. “You have to develop a base, you have to hold rallies and go door-to-door to get out the vote — and that is very difficult and expensive to do.”
Nationally, Fetterman has raised the 12th most money of any Senate campaign so far, the FEC reports.
The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan federal elections tracker, deems Pennsylvania as one of three U.S. Senate races that remains a “toss up” in 2022. The GOPalso could have a chance to win seats up for grabs in Wisconsin and North Carolina.
”We’re talking about a Senate that is tied, and Pennsylvania is one of the critical states that’s likely to decide which party takes the majority,” Madonna said.
Ohio also has an open Senate seat, but it’s deemed “leaning Republican,” as is incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s fight for reelection in Florida.