By Hastings Wyman –
The Federal Election Commission reports for the first half of the year are in, and Dixie’s US Senators up for election next year are bringing in the big dough. While several may be vulnerable in 2016, they should be ready to finance solid campaigns.
The top money-raiser for the last six months was US Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who is a strong reelection bet. And the one with the most money on hand as of June 30 was US Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), with $18,769,000 in his war chest.
Potential contests especially worth noting include Arkansas, where US Sen. John Boozman (R) may have a battle on his hands; Florida, where Marco Rubio is stepping down to run for president and candidates in both parties are raising money; and North Carolina, where US Sen. Richard Burr (R) is getting ready, even if no Democrat has announced to oppose him.
Alabama: US Sen. Richard Shelby (R) raised $799,000 in the first half of this year, with a whopping $18,769,000 cash-on-hand. No worries!
Arkansas: US Sen. John Boozman raised $859,000 by midyear, with $873,000 on hand. He has potential worries, however, if former Gov. Mike Beebe (D) challenges him. At least one poll, by Talk Business & Politics, showed Beebe leading Boozman 45% to 37%. Stay tuned.
Florida: Open seat. Patrick Murphy (D), the candidate of the Democratic establishment (state and national), raised $2,686,000, with $2,491,000 on hand. US Rep. Alan Grayson (D) filed too late to have a Senate campaign account, but he had $71,000 on hand in his House account, which he can use in his Senate campaign. In a late July Mason-Dixon poll, Grayson had 33% of Democrats to 32% for Murphy. On the GOP side, two US Reps. have announced, both too late to list Senate campaign contributions, but Ron DeSantos (R) had $1,099,000 in his House account and David Jolly (R) had $455,000. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) has also entered the race, but too late to list contributions.
Georgia: US Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) raised $2,971,000, with $4,805,000 on hand.
Kentucky: US Sen. Rand Paul (R) is concentrating on his presidential campaign, but if that doesn’t pan out, he has still raised $618,000 for next year’s Senate campaign, with $1,551,000 on hand.
Louisiana: US Sen. David Vitter (R) is running for governor this year, and at this point, is the heavy favorite. Nevertheless, he raised $108,000, with $89,000 on hand. If he’s elected, he is expected to stay in the Senate until he becomes governor, thus allowing him to appoint his successor. Most of the state’s Republican congressmen, among others, are interested in succeeding him.
North Carolina: US Sen. Richard Burr (R), with no announced opposition at this point, raised $2,475,000 this year, with $3,771,000 on hand.
Oklahoma: Freshman James Lankford (R) raised $733,000, with $573,000 on hand.
South Carolina: US Sen. Tim Scott (R), who will be running for his first full term in the Senate, is the Senate’s only African-American Republican. He is expected to have little trouble winning reelection, but in any case, he’s well-prepared. Scott raised $954,000 by midyear, with $3,789,000 on hand.