By Alex Roarty
GOP U.S. Senate nominee Pat Toomey raised roughly $1 million more than Democratic opponent Joe Sestak in the latest fundraising quarter, according to numbers provided by each campaign Tuesday, another indication the Republican could posses a significant financial advantage in the general election race.
But the news isn’t all bad for Sestak, whose fundraising soared following his victory over incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter after it slumped badly in the months before the primary. The candidate, whose campaign confirmed it raised about $1.95 million from the beginning of April to the end of June, had raised only $450,000 in the year’s first fundraising quarter. He has little more than $2 million cash-on-hand, a spokesman said.
That’s far less than the $4.65 million Toomey has after raising $3.1 million in the second quarter. The Republican’s campaign, which spent some money on TV advertisement before and after the primary, touted its fundraising advantage over Sestak in a press release, saying it is clearly “well-positioned in the fall.”
“I am so appreciative for all the support I have received for my candidacy,” Toomey said in a statement. “As I travel across the state, I meet more and more Pennsylvanians who want to join our campaign in order to bring true change and fiscal sanity to Washington. If I am elected to the U.S. Senate, I intend to do just that.”
The fundraising report was especially important for Sestak to show he could reignite his campaign after a hard-fought battle with Specter, during which he spent nearly all of his money. Many observers wondered whether the congressman could tap into Specter’s extensive fundraising network and other big-time Democratic donors, who had shied away from Sestak after the party’s entire establishment, including President Obama and Governor Rendell, sided with the incumbent.
But a campaign official said although Sestak did receive contributions from some former Specter donors, most came from other sources. The official also said of the nearly $2 million collected, $1.6 million came in the quarter’s last four weeks.
UPDATE: Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin passes along this statement:
“The response around the state to Joe’s message of putting working families first has been tremendous. We are especially encouraged by the generous support that allowed him to do so well in such a short period of time. As Joe crisscrosses Pennsylvania — like he did in attending more than 650 event from January 1 through the primary – we find that Pennsylvania voters are looking for the pragmatic approach he offers and not a return to an ideology that puts big corporations first in the hope that the wealth will trickle down.”