Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

GOP Frets About Year-End Fundraising Thanks to Shutdown

A financially damaging mix of a government shutdown and the holiday shopping season has prompted top Republican operatives to temper expectations for fourth-quarter fundraising reports, which are due at the end of the month.

The final three months of the year are always a notoriously difficult time for members to raise money, as donor interest and candidate call time decline during the holidays. But the 16-day government shutdown in October further poisoned the financial well, especially for House Republicans, who polls show took most of the blame for the standoff.

As year-end fundraising reports trickle in over the next few weeks, GOP campaign operatives and consultants are setting a low bar for the first financial numbers candidates will announce in the election year. They argue that the president’s website woes did not serve as a fundraising specter to boost their bottom line.

“The shutdown taking basically an entire month out of the quarter really just did not help us at all,” GOP fundraiser Mackenzie Smith said. “We had to reschedule all of our events from October, and then compete with events already scheduled.”

Fundraising during the shutdown became taboo for many members, who canceled events and call time. The bad optics were not worth the cash raised, a number of members and aides told CQ Roll Call at the time.

Operatives say Republicans endured more of a fundraising slump, as many business-minded donors blamed the GOP for the federal closure.

One national Republican operative estimated that House incumbents who raise between $300,000 to $400,000 in a typically quarter could report hauls in the $100,000 to $200,000 range instead.

The deadline to report fourth-quarter fundraising to the Federal Election Commission is Jan. 31.

As Republicans seek to manage expectations, Democrats are expressing excitement about their upcoming numbers.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had one of its best fundraising months of the year in October, raking in $7 million. That sum was $2.4 million more than what the National Republican Congressional Committee raised that same month.

And a handful of vulnerable Democrats have already announced large sums — weeks before the deadline — as a show of strength to kick off the election year. They include Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., who raised $338,000, and Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., who raised more than $500,000 in the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, operatives from both parties said the greatest consequence of low year-end fundraising is that potential challengers could see an opening to run. Many filing deadlines for candidates fall within the first three months of the year.

“Anybody who is still on the fence waits until Jan. 31 when reports are out,” said Mike Fraioli, a Democratic fundraising consultant. “And if the person you’re planning on running against posts a number of consequence, you might have second thoughts.”

What’s more, many challengers who already announced bids had a leg up on incumbents during the shutdown. While members felt the drag of the shutdown, operatives say challengers were able to capitalize on the opposing narrative, arguing they would be a new voice for change in gridlock-riddled Washington, D.C.

A number of challengers have already announced large fourth-quarter fundraising totals. They include Republican Carl DeMaio’s $370,000 haul in his race against vulnerable freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., and Gwen Graham, a Democrat who raised $474,000 for her bid against Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., in the final three months of last year.

  • docb

    There are many repub checkbooks that have slammed shut over the UE , the SHUTDOWN, and the SEQUESTER cuts that are hitting Main Street right now!

    Couple that with the fact that longtime republicans see that the party has been overtaken by the extremists and it is more than just a 4th Qtr problem!

  • Not Chicken Little

    Due to the shutdown? What kind of fantasy world do these people live in? Oh, I forgot, it’s the world where the taxpayers pay for damn near every one of their wishes.

    It’s because we can’t find any merit in giving money to spineless gutless jellyfish who either don’t care about our Constitution and LIMITED government and spending no more than we take in, or they are too stupid to understand it all.

  • ConradCA

    Why give money to the Democrat lite party? The GOP is to busy surrendering to fight Tyrant Obama and the progressive fascists. They don’t understand that pissing off your base is how you lose elections.

  • ConradCA

    Tyrant Obama and the progressive fascists have run up huge deficits by increasing the size of the Federal gov by 25% with no benefit to the country. The Republicans should have made the shutdown permanent as it cut it by 17% and killed the EPA. A win win situation for the country.

  • TheGAGLine

    With the impending passing of amnesty, and the repeated failure of passing a balanced budget, I will neither vote for a Republican nor give the Republican Party any of my money.

    I’m done with the Republicans, forever.

  • Unc Remus

    Screw Rove,the RINO’s and the GOP…Give to the Senate Conservatives Fund and American Crossroads…

  • docb

    Too much gop bagger lies and delusion..,Spending under Presidents:

  • Tex Geoas

    The government shutdown had nothing to do with the slowdown in contributions. The reasons for lack of donations are: 1.) GOP party has no cajones and stands for nothing, 2.) GOP has begun to attack the Tea party, and, 3.) the GOP seems incapable of creating a coherent message of what it wants to do for America and why. As a recovering Republican, I can say I think the present GOP is dead. The Tea Party is the true conservative party.

  • Tex Geoas

    Oh, and one more thing. The Republicans DO NOT LISTEN. Instead, they are guided by a bunch of establishment ‘good ol boys’ who think they know best. I’m done with all of them. Conservatives may have to lose a few more elections before they wise up… or are replaced with real constitutional conservatives.

  • Brian Cunningham

    This article is so full of crap it could have been written by Brent Budowsky. GOP fundraising is down because the Republican Party under Reince Priebus has done everything possible to alienate conservatives. I used to donate to the RNC, but have not for two years.

  • Brian Cunningham

    The GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Thomas Donohue pulls the strings and his puppets (Priebus, Boehner and McConnell) dance.


    So, the corporate masters of the RINOs were piqued that the flow of taxpayer loot was interrupted for a few days and they’re now showing their displeasure by withholding their kickbacks. Ted Cruz has seen no slowing in normal fundraising. Neither have other American representatives. “American” being the operative word.


    your mom is a bagger. thought your baseless lefty smears should have aresponse in kind. my first statement is backed by three guys at the bus station and all the guys down at the homeless shelter.

  • jfhdsiu

    It’s official. The Republican establishment has gone Liberal. They now see up as down, wrong as right, and have it completely backwards as to why there’s no contributions. It’s that ‘base’ they despise so that’s NOT forking over any money!!!! The one’s the GOP establishment declared ‘war’ on…. “We, The People”………

  • ralph_indianapolis

    Wow. You don;t know anything about the word fascist. In Germany the industrialists like Krupp financed Hitler. They were just one of many corporations. The idea was to set up a corporate run state. You know like the Koch brothers are doing here in America with the GOP.

  • ralph_indianapolis

    American Cross roads is a group created by Karl Rove. You are ill informed if you want to screw Rove and give to a Rove front group.

  • ralph_indianapolis

    Ok lets cut all farm aid from the government. And how about SS?

  • ralph_indianapolis

    Although there are differences among liberial, socialist and commie…I would respect you more if you used one of those for a left center party. Facist is totally wrong to explain the Democrats.

  • ralph_indianapolis

    No sense of proportion at all. Any move from tea party concepts and you are a commie, liberal socialist. Keep chopping off parts of the GOP and soon you will disappear.

  • Not Chicken Little

    You win the award for Non-Sequitir of the Week. It’s obvious you are the kind of person Obama likes, who wants to spend us into oblivion.

  • jfhdsiu

    Incorrect. It’s s not so much the GOP moving FROM the Tea party concepts, as it is that the GOP is moving TOWARDS the Liberal Democrat’s concepts. It’s the GOP that is engineering it’s own demise. IT is what will disappear. It’s a shame too.

  • voltaic

    GOP is truly remarkable. They shutdown govt at a cost of $35 billion and then they pay the people they shutdown from working! They now have the Chris Christie, their shining star, in a scandal that will end his bid for prez. The GOP has just throw 4 million jobless families into financial hell by cutting unemployment benefits, they have cut food stamps to hungry children and next they want to dismantle Social Security to the elderly. What’s next in their feed the rich and starve the poor program of destruction. No wonder they can’t find enough money, they have harmed so many that few want to contribute.

  • Layla

    It has nothing to do with the shutdown and EVERYTHING to do with Obamacare, amnesty and 52 million Americans no longer working.

    The GOP stands by and won’t do any oversight and every Republican knows it. They have broken promises to their voters, and driven their base away. They won’t even keep their Constitutional Oaths of Office.

    We are now donating to new candidates for Congress only. Good bye, GOP. Not ANOTHER DIME.

  • Layla

    You may thank Karl Rove for this.

  • Layla

    Conservatives are not going anywhere until Congress is voted out and the Obama Regime is impeached.

  • Layla

    TRUE! Amnesty and jobs for illegals WILL be the death knell of the party.

  • Layla

    Senate Conservatives Fund is a good one. They’re getting my donations now.

  • Layla

    NOT giving a dime to either party. Only support NEW CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES.

  • jfhdsiu

    You’re thinking of the Democrat faction of the DemoRepublicratcan party. The Republican faction of the DemoRepublicratcan party just didn’t do anything to stop the Democrat faction. Indeed……. The Republican faction has enabled the Democrat faction more than they’ve impeded them. THAT’S why they are losing funds. The shutdown and such is a ruse to distract weak minds. We aren’t contributing to the GOP because they are the Liberals new lapdogs and we’re not Democrats.

  • Payton Manning

    Here we find marxist agitator Hussein Obama fear-mongering about the tiny spending reductions of the 2013 sequester:

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