Democratic challengers raised around $407 million to unseat Republican incumbents who ultimately won their races, according to Federal Election Commission filings, quickly dashing the party’s hopes of a blue wave in the Senate.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the only Republican senator on the ballot who did not endorse President Trump, won reelection against Democratic nominee Sara Gideon, who raised a recorded $69.5 million during her campaign, compared to Collins’ $27 million. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who himself raked in more than $74 million over the course of the race with a third-quarter haul of $28 million, beat out challenger Jaime Harrison and his Senate record-shattering final quarter fundraising of $57 million ($109 million total) by a wide margin.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) won reelection against Democrat Theresa Greenfield in a race for which Greenfield raised $47.5 million, while Ernst raised $23.7 million. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won reelection against Democratic challenger Amy McGrath despite being out-raised by $33 million (McGrath amassed around $90 million).
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) turned back a challenge from the state’s Democratic governor Steve Bullock whose fundraising total was nearly $43.4 million versus Daines’ $27.1 million total.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who the Associated Press has not yet determined as the race’s winner, late Tuesday night declared victory over challenger Cal Cunningham, who brought in $47.5 million this election cycle while Tillis raised $22.4 million (Tillis has 48.7% of the vote and Cunningham has 46.9% with 93% of precincts reporting).
There was a wave of excitement among Democrats in the run-up to the election that an influx of grassroots fundraising could signal an impending power shift in the Senate. Polls also signaled a blue wave, with FiveThirtyEight’s final forecastpredicting Democrats had a 3-in-4 chance in flipping the Senate. However, key Tuesday night losses of races that seemed competitive but turned comfortably in the Republican incumbents’ favors have made it look unlikely that Democrats will seize control.
“All the liberals in California and New York, you wasted a lot of money,” said Graham during his victory speech on Tuesday night. “This is the worst return on investment in the history of American politics.”
Jemima McEvoy:Forbes 11/4/20