ICYMI: Underwhelming Fundraising and Declining Approval Ratings Raise “Red Flags All Over” for Vulnerable GOP Senators

Key Republican incumbents “facing ugly favorability ratings” reported “underwhelming” fundraising and “failed even to hit… financial baseline”

Following a terrible week for vulnerable Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell’s Senate majority is “looking awfully precarious.” Republicans’ prospects in key battlegrounds are “looking gloomier” after Senators Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, and Thom Tillis all saw their approval ratings drop in the most recent Morning Consult tracking poll, and Senators Collins, Ernst, and McSally were all outraised by Democratic challengers. McSally and Tillis are racing to the right to fend off self-funding primary challengers, Collins was outraised by more than $1 million, and Ernst is starting to pay a price with voters for threatening to gut Social Security and refusing to protect Iowa farmers.


National Journal: Red Flags All Over for Senate Republicans
New polls and fundraising reports show key GOP senators in political trouble, giving Democrats a solid shot to win back control of the upper chamber.

  • New polling and fundraising figures show that Mitch McConnell’s hold on the Senate majority is looking awfully precarious.
  • Four Republican senators were outraised by their Democratic challengers in the third fundraising quarter… And in North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis raised only $1.2 million, an underwhelming sum for a senator facing a credible primary threat and an expensive general election ahead. All four swing-state senators also are viewed unfavorably by their constituents according to new quarterly Morning Consult polling, underscoring the sudden shift in support away from Republicans.
  • In Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst failed even to hit the million-dollar mark in fundraising, a financial baseline of sorts for senators running for reelection. She was outraised by a Democratic outsider, businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, who raised $1.1 million despite facing a contested Democratic primary and refusing donations from corporate PACs.
  • As her fundraising has slowed, Ernst’s support back home has also declined. The Morning Consult tracking poll found Ernst with an underwater job-approval rating of 39/43, with more independents viewing her unfavorably than favorably.
  • The GOP’s outlook in Arizona and North Carolina is also looking gloomier. Both Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina are facing nuisance primary challengers, which makes it harder for the incumbents to consolidate their base. But the more they try to protect their right flank, the tougher it becomes to win over the suburban moderates who decide races in these swing states.
  • McSally, who lost last year’s election before being appointed to her seat, trailed Democratic challenger Mark Kelly by 5 points, 46 to 41 percent, in a poll taken in August. She’s been outraised in all three of the fundraising quarters by significant margins—an unusual disadvantage for a sitting senator. She already lags Kelly in campaign cash by nearly $4 million.
  • Tillis holds the lowest approval rating (33 percent) of any sitting senator, according to the Morning Consult survey.
  • …he’ll have to get past self-funded businessman Garland Tucker in the primary. Tucker has poured $1.2 million of his own money into the campaign—around the same amount Tillis raised in the last three months. Tucker has already been using that money on anti-Tillis campaign ads, forcing the senator to respond in kind.
  • In Maine, a race that Republicans consider the nation’s biggest bellwether, Sen. Susan Collins is suddenly facing a real fight. State House Speaker Sara Gideon raised a whopping $3.2 million in the third quarter, outpacing Collins by more than $1 million. More significantly, Collins’ once-golden image back home has continued to slip, according to the Morning Consult numbers. Her popularity has hit an all-time low in the tracking survey, down to 43/49 job approval.

Axios: Democratic challengers outpace vulnerable GOP senators in Q3 fundraising

  • By the numbers: Q3 fundraising reports show four Republican senators were outraised by their Democratic competitors, including three that hail from key battleground states Iowa, Maine and Arizona.
    • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) failed to hit $1 million in funding, while a Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, raised $1.1 million.
    • Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) has been outraised in all three quarters, and her cash-on-hand trails Democratic challenger Mark Kelly by nearly $4 million.
    • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was outpaced by over $1 million, with Democrat Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House, raising $3.2 million.
  • Between the lines: Some of these vulnerable Republican senators are facing ugly favorability ratings as well.
    • Collins currently has a 43% job approval, the second worst in the country behind McConnell, according to Morning Consult. Ernst comes in at fourth worst, with a 39% approval rating.


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