2012 Congressional Fundraising: Winner and Losers
The year end fundraising numbers are in. Here’s who finished the year strong, who needs to pick up their game, and who wishes they could get a refund on 2012.
These numbers are accurate as of Jan. 1. Reports were filed on Jan. 31 for the post-election time period from November 27 to December 31.
Pat Meehan (R-Delaware, PA-7). The sophomore Congressman is avoiding the partisan fights that trap some of his DC colleagues and building a reputation as a pragmatic problem solver in SEPA. His bank account shows it: though he raised practically nothing at the end of the year, he retains $1 million cash on hand, meaning he’s not likely to be a top tier Dem target in 2014 as he was (nominally) in 2012. A shrewd campaigner, he cancelled a $500K ad buy at the end of the campaign. A good decision considering he won by 19 points.
Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery, PA-13). No such list would be complete without Pa.’s preeminent Democratic fundraiser, now charged with bringing in the bucks for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Schwartz didn’t raise anything at the end of the year, but she it sitting on a pile of $3.11 million in campaign cash. That money can be used for anything, even a run for Pa. Governor.
Bill Shuster (R-Blair, PA-9). Shuster has never and likely will never face a serious Democratic challenger. But he ended 2012 in style, raising $53K and leaving $285K cash on hand. As the new Chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he’ll be able to raise money as prolifically as he wants to for the next 6 years.
Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh, PA-15). A friendlier district and a non-serious Democratic challenger gave this once-perennial Dem target a year off. That translates to $235K on hand for the five-term incumbent.
Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny, PA-18). The only member of Congress to face a concerted challenge in the primary and the general, Murphy ends 2012 with $121K on hand. Neither conservative activists nor Democratic operatives are likely to mount a serious challenge to him any time soon.
Work Cut Out for Them:
Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny, PA-12). The only challenger to defeat an incumbent in 2012, Rothfus started his re-election campaign the day after the polls closed. He raised $100K since Nov. 26 and has almost retired his campaign debt (he has $13.5K on hand and still owes $21K). It’s unclear how seriously Democrats will contest his GOP-friendly seat, but he’s fooling himself if he thinks he can take his foot off the gas for even a week between now and Nov. 2014.
Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna, PA-17). Cartwright is an incumbent living in the population base of a safe Democratic district, so he could probably coast to a 20 year career without raising another dime. But he wants more than that. He wants to leverage his immense fundraising base in the NEPA legal community into a national role, a la Rep. Schwartz. To succeed, he’ll need more than the $57K he currently has on hand. He’ll also have to assuage prospective donors over the fact that his campaign has $436K* in outstanding debt ($390K of which in the form of a loan from Cartwright himself).
*Cartwright’s camp says an amended report to be filed soon will show their debt down to $415K.
Scott Perry (R-York, PA-4). The freshman Republican successor to Rep. Todd Platts has none of the latter’s disinterest vis-a-vis the ladder of party politics in the U.S. House. But like Cartwright, he has catching up to do if he wants to be a power player in DC. His combined committees have $3,600 on hand and $16,000 in debt.
Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne, PA-11). This district is good for the GOP, but not out of the realm of possibility for Democrats. Thus Barletta had one goal for 2012: a statement win that would deter future challengers. He accomplished a 17 point victory but at a cost: he carried $131K of debt into 2013 versus just $8K on hand. It will prove to have been a wise move if Democrats shy away in 2014, but unless he makes it up quickly his low COH could actually make him look more vulnerable.
George Badey (D-Delaware, PA-7). Momentum never materialized for Badey, an attorney and Dem party leader who challenged Meehan. As part of his play to attract national attention (and donors), Badey loaned his campaign $125,000. It didn’t pan out, and when Badey officially disbanded his campaign committee in January he swallowed a $116K personal loss.
Former Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria PA-12) and Larry Maggi (D-Washington, PA-18), the Dem who challenged Murphy, also ended 2012 with unpaid self-loans.
Finally, a few 2012 candidates have dissolved their committees, a step that would seem to make a future run less likely:
Former Rep. Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill, PA-17), Maggi and Badey. And long-shot challengers John Featherman (R-Phila, PA-1), Harry Perkinson (D-York, PA-4), Karen Ramsburg (I-Franklin, PA-9), Joe Rooney (R-Montco, PA-13) and Hans Lessman (R-Allegheny, PA-14).
Meghan Check & Laura Luisi contributed to this report.
Here’s the full spreadsheet: