Former President Donald Trump may be the most prolific fundraiser in the GOP, but his cash vacuum isn’t doing much for the candidates he’s endorsed for 2022.
Many of the GOP candidates Trump is backing in open-seat races are struggling to raise significant funds as well against better-funded opponents—and every single one of the GOP candidates Trump has endorsed against a GOP incumbent is getting crushed in fundraising, according to newly released campaign finance reports.
In spite of winning an early Trump endorsement in his Senate campaign, Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks raised less than $400,000 from October through December and has less than $2 million in the bank for his struggling campaign. This may explain why he parted ways with his former campaign manager in November.
Brooks’ fundraising haul was less than a third of the total raised by his top Senate primary opponent. Establishment favorite Katie Boyd Britt posted a $1.2 million quarter and has $4 million cash on hand, more than double Brooks’ total. Army veteran Mike Durant, who jumped into the race in October, loaned his campaign more than $4 million for his bid.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the lone GOP senator who voted to impeach Trump and is running for reelection this year, hauled in $1.4 million, more than double the $600,000 Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka raised. Murkowski has almost $4.3 million in the bank, nearly seven times the $634,000 Tshibaka has in her war chest.
Trump’s Senate picks in Nevada and North Carolina aren’t doing much better—both are being lapped by the Democrats they hope to face, while barely out raising their primary opponents.
North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, who Trump endorsed, raised just $968,000 last quarter for his Senate campaign—not much more than the $748,000 raised by his main primary opponent, former North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and less than half the total raised by Democratic frontrunner Cheri Beasley, who raised more than $2.1 million in the same time period.
Trump-backed Former Nevada Secretary of State Adam Laxalt raised an underwhelming $1.3 million for his Senate bid, barely more than the $1.1 million raised by his little-known Senate primary opponent, Army veteran Sam Brown. Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto raised almost $3.4 million in the same period and has $10.5 million in the bank compared to just $1.7 million for Laxalt.
Even strong-performing Trump allies are getting lapped in fundraising. Trump-backed Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker raised almost $5.4 million in the past three months and has about the same amount in the bank. That’s a huge haul, but Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock far outpaced him, bringing in $9.8 million in the same time period. Warnock has $22.9 million in the bank for what’s sure to be one of this cycle’s most expensive Senate races.
Every single one of the House candidates Trump has endorsed against a GOP incumbent is getting shellacked in fundraising as well.
Trump antagonist and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney hauled in $2 million in the last three months, a massive haul for a House race in an off-year election, and has $4.7 million in the bank. Her Trump-backed primary opponent, Harriet Hageman raised $443,000—what would normally be considered a significant sum—but has just $380,000 cash on hand.
Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, one of the six other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump that is currently running for reelection, brought in $726,000, five times more than the $135,000 Trump-backed challenger Steve Carra raised.
Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer brought in more than a half-million dollars—ten times the amount Trump-backed challenger John Gibbs brought in from the time he launched his campaign in early November through the end of 2021. Washington Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler also topped a half-million dollars, more than the $300,000 raised by Trump-backed challenger Joe Kent.
It’s not a shock that incumbents are out-raising challengers, even ones backed by the former president—incumbency offers a lot of fundraising advantages. And money isn’t the only thing that matters in politics.
But the struggles from so many of Trump’s candidates to catch fire in fundraising show the limits his support offers candidates. And it could mean his power over the GOP—and ability to get his allies into office—isn’t quite as strong as many have assumed.