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DALLAS – In the battle for control of the Senate, money matters.
And right now, Democrats are clearly winning the campaign cash dash.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), acknowledges that “money is a significant issue in any campaign” and that many of the GOP Senate nominees this cycle “have gone through very tough primaries.”
But Scott predicts “we’ll have a Republican Senate” in 2023.
Scott’s mission in steering the Senate GOP’s re-election arm is to win back control of the chamber in November’s midterm elections. While defending a majority of the seats up for grabs this year – including open seats in a handful of crucial swing states – Republicans only need a one-seat net gain and see strong pickup opportunities in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire.
Democrats face historical headwinds, as the party that wins the White House and control of Congress traditionally suffers major setbacks in the House and Senate in the ensuing midterm elections. They’re also up against a very unfavorable political climate, fueled by record inflation and soaring crime, and symbolized by President Biden’s deeply negative approval ratings.
But pointing to the issues of gun violence, following a slate of high-profile mass shootings in recent months, and abortion in the wake of the move by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which sent the issue of abortion regulation back to the states. Democrats see an energized electorate that will help them defy the current expectations by political prognosticators.
Democrats were further energized by Tuesday’s resounding victory in Kansas by pro-choice activists – in the first ballot box test of legalized abortion since the blockbuster high court ruling.
Scott noted that the issue of abortion, in the month and a half since the Supreme Court’s blockbuster ruling, has “helped the Democrats raise a lot of money.”
He emphasized in an interview with Fox News on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas that “Republicans gotta be compassionate about this issue, explain where the Democrats are,” which he charged “is radical.”
And he stressed that Republicans must “always make sure you’re talking about the things that people care about. They really are worried about the economy. They’re worried about their kids’ education. They’re worried about living in a safe community.”
The rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee out raised the NRSC during the April-June second quarter of 2022 fundraising. The top outside group that works to elect and re-elect Democratic senators walloped its Republican rival in the latest fundraising quarterly reports. And the fundraising by the four Democratic incumbents who’ve been heavily targeted by the GOP has been staggering, as they’ve dramatically outpaced their Republican challengers.
DSCC executive director Christie Roberts emphasized that her party’s Senate campaigns “are firing on all cylinders.”
And Roberts argued that “retirements, recruitment failures and vicious primaries – coupled with Trump’s endorsements – have left Republicans with a roster of flawed and deeply damaged candidates, while Democrats are running strong, battle-tested incumbents and challengers who are backed by their own unique coalition of voters.”
Pushing back, Scott claimed that “if you look at the Democrats that were running against, they’re radical Bernie Sanders type Democrats.”
And he emphasized that “we’ve got to raise our money to tell our story. If we tell our story, I think we’re gonna have a great year.” But acknowledged “the Democrats are raising a lot of money.”
Scott pointed the key battleground state of Georgia, where Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock – who enjoys a massive fundraising advantage over GOP challenger Herschel Walker but holds a narrow advantage over the former college and pro-football star – has dramatically outspent Walker to date in the campaign ad wars.
“Herschel is now just getting his first ad up. When he tells his story about where he came from and what he believes, I think he’s going to do well, if he can raise his money,” Scott said.
Former President Donald Trump’s heavily flirting with making another White House run, and Republicans have the political winds at their backs this cycle, there are plenty of people in the GOP concerned that a potential Trump 2024 announcement before November could negatively impact the Republicans’ chances of regaining control of the House and Senate.
But Scott told Fox News that even if Trump announces a 2024 presidential bid before midterms, he still thinks “the election is going to be about the Biden agenda.”