Democratic challengers in several key Senate races collected enormous hauls in the second quarter of the year, the latest sign of the party’s increasing strength as it tries to take control of the chamber in November’s elections.
Jaime Harrison, a Democrat who is trying to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, raised more than $13.9 million in the quarter, his campaign announced Tuesday. That total was almost double what Harrison raised in the first quarter of the year, when he outraised Graham.
Graham and several other Republicans in important races have not yet revealed their fundraising for the full second quarter, which went from April through June.
Harrison’s total was particularly impressive, but fundraising numbers announced by other Democratic challengers so far this month have also been strong. And they come as Republican incumbents are being imperiled by President Donald Trump’s declining standing with voters.
Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, but their path to preserving that majority has looked increasingly shaky. If former Vice President Joe Biden defeats Trump, Democrats would need a net gain of three Senate seats to take control of the chamber, since the vice president breaks a 50-50 tie. If Trump wins a second term, Democrats would need a net gain of four seats to control the Senate.
The strong numbers from Democratic Senate candidates follow a notable display of financial strength by Biden, who struggled with fundraising earlier in his presidential campaign. Biden and the Democratic Party outraised Trump and the Republicans in June for the second straight month.
Democratic donors are not directing their money only to the most competitive Senate races, either. The race between Graham and Harrison, for instance, is not viewed as part of the top tier of competitive Senate contests. But Graham’s evolution into a vocal ally of Trump has turned him into a front-and-center target for Democrats.
Sara Gideon, who is seeking to defeat Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, announced last week that she had raised $9 million in the most recent quarter. Collins is seen as one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents. Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat who is trying to unseat Sen. Steve Daines, raised $7.7 million in the second quarter.