Within one week of announcing that she’d challenge GOP Sen. Susan Collins in Maine, Democrat Sara Gideon raised more than $1 million — nearly half of what Collins’ challenger six years ago raised for the entire two-year cycle.
But Collins also shattered her own fundraising record, topping $2 million in a quarter for the first time in her Senate career. The targeted Republican incumbent has already raised more money this cycle than she did for the entirety of her 2014 reelection.
In Senate battlegrounds across the map, Democratic challengers are launching their campaigns with substantial fundraising hauls, relying on small-dollar donors to jump out of the gate with significant amounts of cash. But Senate Republicans, who are mostly on defense this cycle, are also setting a blistering pace, and incumbents are using established fundraising networks to stockpile formidable war chests.
The result is a massive sum of money already flowing into Senate races — especially to incumbents or challengers with official or tacit party backing.