GOP routing Dems in Congressional money race

WASHINGTON – Republicans are routing Democrats when it comes to raising money in the four most competitive House districts in the Philadelphia region.

The four Republicans in those races have more than three times as much cash on hand than the Democrats as of June 30: $5.36 million to $1.64 million, according to campaign filings released this week. And in three of the four races, the Republican candidates raised at least twice as much in the latest reporting period as the Democratic hopefuls.

In the fourth race, the Republican, South Jersey’s Tom MacArthur, made up for low fundraising by donating $1 million of his own money to his campaign, giving him a strong cash advantage over Democrat Aimee Belgard.

For a race-by-race breakdown, see the chart at the bottom of this post.

The fund-raising results show Republicans taking advantage of a strong overall environment for the GOP – which is favored to do well this year as President Obama’s approval numbers plunge – incumbency (in two races), and, in MacArthur’s case, personal wealth.

PA6  (Chester County based) – Costello vs Trivedi
But the GOP’s strongest local performer in the latest reports had none of those advantages. Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello, running for a Chester-based seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, raised $600,175 from May 1 to June 30, the most of any candidate in the four top races in the region. CORRECTION: Taking the full second quarter into account (April 1 to June 30), Costello's team says he raised more than any candidate in the country running for an open seat -- though his opponent's camp pointed out that there are actually several open seat candidates who raised more than he did. 

Costello's opponent, Democrat Manan Trivedi, raised $236,170 in the reporting period. Costello had nearly $809,000 in his warchest as of June 30, compared to $357,664 for Trivedi. (Gerlach, a Republican, is retiring).

The story was similar for Republicans in competitive races based in Bucks County, a New Jersey district including much of Burlington and Ocean counties and in another Jersey race encompassing much of South Jersey, from Atlantic and Burlington Counties down to Cape May and Salem.

PA8 (Bucks County based) – Fitzpatrick vs. Strouse
In Bucks, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had $1.9 million in campaign funds compared to $269,000 for Democrat Kevin Strouse, who in May won a hard-fought primary. Fitzpatrick raised $411,400 from May 1 to June 30, against $201,100 for Strouse.

NJ3 (Burlington County based) – MacArthur vs. Belgard
MacArthur, a former insurance executive, also came through a tough primary in South Jersey, but after putting $2 million of his money into that campaign, he replenished his funds with another $1 million loan. He had $1.1 million on hand despite raising only $102,500 in donations from May 15 to June 30. (The periods covered in the reports are different because of the different primary dates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey).

MacArthur's personal wealth has allowed him to maintain a cash edge despite strong fund-raising by Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder. Belgard took in nearly $351,500 since May 15, the best among the top Democratic challengers in the region, even though she had two fewer weeks in the latest report than Strouse or Trivedi. Still, MacArthur’s money gave him nearly double her $616,000 cash on hand.

NJ2 (Atlantic County based) – LoBiondo vs. Hughes
In another South Jersey district, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo raised $250,000 from May 15 to June 30. He had nearly $1.6 million on hand, leaving him well ahead of challenger William Hughes Jr., a Democrat who raised $54,000 and had $396,000 in cash as of June 30.