Axios reporter Lachlan Markay took a look at new campaign finance data which he wrote "underscores a disparity among election objectors. Some have used the infamy to catapult themselves into MAGA stardom. Those who haven't-- including some facing competitive 2022 reelection fights-- are stuck with all the baggage and little financial benefit."
Seditionists Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz aren't up for reelection and each of these outspoken, insurrection-supporting obstructions saw their fundraising go through the roof. Hawley's shot up by 3,552% compared to the first six months of the 2019 cycle and Cruz's, despite his vacation in Cancun, was up by 832%. And somehow Matt Gaetz was able to capitalize on all the press he's gotten as a child sex trafficker by pulling "in 752% more in the first half of the year, even as corporate PAC donations dried up almost entirely."
Same with Mo Brooks, who is running for an open Senate seat in Alabama with Trump's enthusiastic support. Wearing body armor under his clothes, he incited the rioters to violence more than almost any other speaker at Trump's Stop the Steal rally-- and still "raised more than four times as much during the first six months of 2021-- when he announced his 2022 Senate bid-- than he did in 2019."
Knee jerk obstructionists and right-wing media darings Kevin McCarthy, Gym Jordan, Marjorie Traitor Greene $4 million), Lauren Boebert ($1.8 million), Madison Cawthorn ($1.8 million) saw huge piles of cash flowing into their campaign coffers. And now that Elise Stefanik has cast caution to the win and reinvented herself as a fascist-oriented Trumpist, she's also seeing the kind of money she never dreamed of when she was trying to pass herself off as a "moderate" or mainstream conservative.
Markay wrote that on the other side of the equation lesser-known lawmakers haven't been able to capitalize on grassroots popularity at all. Fundraising for California doofus Doug LaMalfa "was down by more than 93%. Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest saw an 89% decline. The haul for Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) dropped by 80%. Is it possible that DesJarlais' backward constituents are just now finding out about how he drugged and raped his female patients? Interestingly, "A pair of Republicans on House Democrats' 2022 target list saw some significant fundraising declines: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) pulled in 45% less than he did in 2019. The total for Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) was down 26%. Other members whose districts were considered competitive last year also raised significantly less. The haul for Rep. John Carter (R-TX) fell by 49%. North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop's declined 42%. Fellow North Carolinian Rep. Richard Hudson pulled in 18% less.
Of the 110 objectors elected before 2020, 65 saw their total fundraising decline in the first half of the year, most of them by a quarter or more.
Some 45 objectors brought in more than they did during the equivalent period last cycle.
Total fundraising by those 110 members was up by $41 million this year, but that rise was attributable entirely to huge spikes for a handful of prominent election objectors.
The bottom line: Media attention is literal currency in the modern GOP.
Those who can establish themselves as torch-bearers of the Trumpian right can translate any controversy into massive grassroots fundraising hauls. Those who can't must weather the fallout.
Doug Heye, a Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and a former senior House GOP leadership aide, called it the "immediate celebrification" of politics during an interview with Axios.
Heye pointed to an infamous photo of Hawley raising his fist in solidarity with Jan. 6 demonstrators before they breached the Capitol.
It's not an exaggeration to say that one picture is worth a million dollars," he said.
As we just saw in the OH-11 race, money raised by SuperPACs that back candidates, is often far more meaningful than what the campaign raises directly. Outside conservative groups-- some of which included Republican money-- raised $6 million for Shontel Brown. Brown's campaign raised just $2,066,834.41 to Turner's $3,867,839.02. This works the same way for Republicans. I suspect that Republican-affiliated superPACs will come to the rescue of floundering incumbents like Chabot, Schweikert, Carter, Bishop and any of the others who look like they're running into trouble and need the money to stay competitive.
Steven Holden is running for the central NY congressional seat held by fake moderate John Katko. "The only reason John Katko acts like a 'moderate,'" he told me this morning, "is due to his corporate fundraising ties. They do not want him to look like he is 'extreme' because it would hurt his brand. It shows. A recent CNN report shows that the 'moderate' GOP members of the House who voted for impeachment had their numbers go up. His key funders are the NRA, which is in shambles, the pharmaceutical industry, and he recently won the US Chamber of Commerce’s Bipartisanship Award. This is despite him voting against COVID relief that would have helped in getting small business back open. Those are three groups who have massive PR problems right now, and Katko is front and center with them. The same can be said of 'moderate' Democrat Fran Conole who could enter the race any day now. This fundraising savant only got 17,000 votes after raising $900K in 2020. This was in a primary that favored more establishment candidates. There is no difference between the two of them, and voters I talk to, are tired of them both."