The Democratic majority in the House is hanging by a thread, but grassroots liberals have not given up, donating in droves to boost the party’s effort to fend off a Republican takeover in 2022.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $12.6 million in November amid President Joe Biden’s sinking approval ratings and generic ballot polling that swung toward the Republicans. That haul was nearly double the $7.3 million raised by the National Republican Congressional Committee last month, and it left the DCCC with a cash-on-hand advantage over the NRCC of $73.8 million to $67 million.
Democrats are in deep trouble as the midterm elections approach. But it appears their five-seat majority will not fall, if it falls, because of a lack of resources.
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“House Republicans’ craven and self-serving attempts to tank our economy, put extremism over investing in building America, and declare war on ending the pandemic continue to threaten American progress. Luckily, House Democratic leadership, President Biden, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are leading our country to brighter days and to victory next November,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the DCCC's chairman, in a statement.
The $12.6 million the DCCC raised last month amounted to the most the House Democratic campaign arm has raised the November before the election year in the history of the committee. Indeed, the most that the DCCC had previously raised in November of the off-year was $9 million. The DCCC entered December with all of its debts paid and with $26 million more in the bank to spend on the 2022 campaign than it had at the same point two years ago.
This robust level of fundraising suggests grassroots liberals continue to be engaged and supportive of Democratic incumbents and challenger candidates despite the severe political headwinds the party faces.
However, the indicators that tend to foreshadow the outcome of the midterm elections are nearly all pointing to new Republican majorities when the 118th Congress is installed in January 2023. Biden’s job approval rating is sitting at 44.1%, the GOP leads the generic ballot (gauging which party voters would prefer to be in charge on Capitol Hill) by nearly 3 percentage points, and Republicans won big in the off-year elections in Virginia and elsewhere.
Additionally, nearly two dozen House Democrats have announced plans to retire next year rather than run for reelection, and Republicans could pick up tens of seats on the natural through the decennial redistricting process.
Meanwhile, the NRCC is collecting plenty of cash for 2022, even though the House GOP campaign arm trails the DCCC in cash on hand and money raised from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30. Per the NRCC’s Federal Election Commission filing, the committee had raised $122.1 million during the first 11 months of 2021, compared to $130.8 million brought in by the DCCC during the same period.
But the NRCC, too, is far ahead of where it was at this point in 2019, on its way toward flipping 15 Democratic-held seats, although it came up five short of the majority. Through Nov. 30 of the year before the 2020 elections, the NRCC had raised just $77.1 million and had $29.4 million in cash on hand, $45 million and $37.6 million, respectively behind its performance so far this year.
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Republican insiders are confident the party has the resources it needs to finance a red wave that many in the party believe could rival the 63 seats the GOP flipped in 2010, former President Barack Obama’s first midterm election year. House Republicans relinquished that majority eight years later during former President Donald Trump's first midterm election year.
“House Republicans have set one fundraising record after another this year and will enter 2022 with enough resources to play offense all over the country,” a Republican strategist involved in House races said.