Democrat Val Demings, who is challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio for the job in November 2022, reported raising an eye-popping $8.4 million on 3rd quarter campaign finance reports. Rubio, over the same period, reported hauling in $6 million during the quarter.
Both Demings and Rubio’s fundraising announcements came at roughly the same time, apparently without the benefit of seeing what the other had reported. Rubio’s announcement, published exclusively by Fox News, noted that his “third quarter haul is nearly double what any GOP senator up for reelection raised during the third quarter of 2019, the comparable quarter in the 2020 cycle.”
Normally, that would be something worth bragging about, but Demings’ campaign team was able to come over the top with a release that boasted about “smashing the record for what past Senate candidates had raised at this point in a campaign cycle.”
The haul by Demings sends a strong signal that Democrats think Rubio is beatable, and may be a top pickup target in 2022. Her campaign said they invested millions of dollars on digital infrastructure but added that they ultimately expect to be outraised and outspent by Rubio in the long run.
Indeed, Rubio started the race with a multi-million dollar fundraising advantage, and doesn’t need to build his campaign infrastructure from scratch, like Demings does. That left him sitting on a campaign warchest stuffed with $9.6 million in cash on hand at the beginning of October. By contrast, Demings spending spree getting her campaign up to speed left her with about $6 million in the bank.
“Make no mistake: we expect to be outspent,” noted Demings campaign manager, Zach Carroll, in a memo about the fundraising haul. He also noted that he believes large sums of outside money from third party groups will play an important role in the race.
One of those groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), reported record-breaking fundraising hauls over the summer, with $28 million raised in the second quarter that included a haul of over $10 million in June alone. The NRSC is chaired by former Florida governor-turned U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who has been charged with leading Republican efforts to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats.
Nationally, Republican momentum appears to be picking up steam, cutting into initial enthusiasm from Democrats in the aftermath of the 2020 election when they ultimately took control of all three branches of the federal government. While the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported just over $46 million in cash-on-hand on their second quarter report, the Scott-led NRSC had $51 million.