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Low Fundraising Hauls Hint at House Retirements
Posted at 3:02 p.m. on July 17, 2013
Recently filed fundraising reports give some clues this week about which House members are gearing up for re-election fights — and who might be ready to call it quits after this term.
Small hauls are often the first indication a member is preparing to leave Capitol Hill. Members are not motivated to raise big bucks if they know they won’t need a war chest for another electoral battle.
A CQ Roll Call review of second-quarter House fundraising reports, which were due Monday, showed several longtime House members posting meager sums.
Rep. Collin C. Peterson, the 69-year-old, 12-term Democrat from Minnesota, reported a surprisingly low fundraising total of $94,000 from April 1 to June 30.
Earlier this year, Republicans publicly encouraged Peterson to retire because they view his 7th District seat as competitive if he’s gone. But Peterson told a Minnesota news outlet in June that the GOP’s efforts have actually fueled his desire to run again in 2014. Still, he raised $60,000 less in the second quarter than in the first, giving more credence to the retirement rumors.
For the second quarter in a row, 67-year-old Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., raised less than $5,000, fueling speculation he may retire if the Senate does not confirm him to a top administration post at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The 11-term Democrat has had a rocky confirmation process over the past few months, and he only raised $2,300 in the second quarter.
GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida, 82, is a perennial member on CQ Roll Call’s retirement watch list. He brought in $86,000 in the second quarter — much less than what his Democratic challenger, Jessica Ehrlich, raised. For any other member, the sub-six-figure total would signal that a 22-term member is ready to call it quits. But Young has defied this wisdom many, many cycles before.
Additionally, 82-year-old Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., raised just $4,000 for the second quarter in a row. His small haul will keep him on CQ Roll Call’s retirement watch list for another quarter. It’s worth noting that Coble was admitted to a hospital for “severe dizziness” in February, after which he told a local media outlet that he plans to run again. But he also left the door open to retirement if his health prevented him from running again.
Four-term Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., 59, raised just $31,000 in the second quarter. Lamborn is considered a lock in the heavily Republican 5th District, but it’s still rare for an incumbent member to raise less than six figures in a quarter.
Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D-Mass., 61, an eight-term Democrat from the 7th District, raised $54,000 in the second quarter. Local Democrats say Capuano is considering a gubernatorial bid in 2014, which, paired with his low fundraising, puts the congressman on the retirement watch list.
Three longtime House members who showed paltry fundraising earlier this year — and made CQ Roll Call’s retirement watch list then — have more than doubled their numbers in the second quarter.
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., raised a small sum in the first part of this year, leading many California Republicans to question whether he will come back for another term. But the 74-year-old has denied the retirement rumors, and he doubled his fundraising haul from the first quarter, raising $140,000 from April through June.
Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, who at 90 is the oldest serving House member, raised just $15,000 in the first quarter. He’s since told local media outlets he is running again and brought in more than eight times that amount, $130,000, in the second quarter.
Similarly, New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel, 83, also dramatically increased his fundraising pace in the second quarter. The Democrat brought in $166,000 in the second quarter — up from $35,000 raised during the first three months of the year.
Abby Livingston contributed to this report.