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Democrats tout fundraising advantage in 2020 congressional elections

Midwest states likely to lose House seats

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group that works to elect Democrats to Congress, is touting a fundraising advantage and expanding its battleground map after learning it outraised its GOP counterparts by $40 million in 2019. 

The DCCC announced this week it raised $125 million last year, roughly $20 more than it raised in 2017, the last off year between elections. The fundraising was fueled by $59.6 million in grassroots contributions. At the same time, the 42 Democratic "frontline" members in competitive races raked in more than $91 million in 2019.

"We know that this gives them a huge tactical advantage in their districts because they can buy TV time at a significantly lower rate than the committee, than outside groups, than anyone else," said DCCC political director Kory Kozloski in a call with reporters. "They're going to have the resources to tell their stories in a significant way, in a way that incumbents have never had before, in a way that Democratic candidates in many cases have never had before."

Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom Emmer revealed his committee raised $85 million in 2019, $40 million less than the DCCC. Emmer raised alarm bells to Republicans as they seek to take back the House in 2020. 

"One red flag that we're going to start hitting in the next two weeks if you read about it, our members need to get their act together and raise more money," Emmer said. "The individual campaigns need to raise more money. They cannot expect somebody else is gonna do it for them." 

During his 20-minute remarks, he blasted Democrats as the party of socialists and big government and argued control would be determined by what the parties had to offer referencing the economy and trade as an advantage.  

As Democrats seek to defend their House majority and hold onto 30 districts President Trump won in 2016, the DCCC announced on Thursday that it is targeting five more Republican-held districts and one currently vacant seat. 

Democrats are now eyeing Don Young of Alaska, Steve Watkins of eastern Kansas, Richard Hudson of central North Carolina, Dan Crenshaw of northern Houston suburbs, and newly-turned Republican Jeff Van Drew of southern New Jersey. 

Democrats are also focused on keeping California's 25th district seat, vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, who resigned in October. Hill had flipped the seat in the 2018 midterm elections.

Those six additions are on top of the 39 Republican-held districts where the DCCC announced in November that it would be targeting.

"The bottom line is, House Democrats are on the offensive across the country, prepared to protect and expand the House Majority that fights for the priorities of the American people," said DCCC chair Cheri Bustos in a statement. "Our record fundraising gives us the ability to push deeper into Republican territory and hold Republicans accountable for their attacks on working families' health care." 

However, among those six districts, Cook Political Report still rates Hudson's district as solidly Republican. Among the ones Cook Political Report deems competitive, it also rates Van Drew, Watkins, and Young's seats are likely Republican.

"We're going to take a hard look at every single one of these," said Kozloski when asked what resources from the DCCC might look like in the newly added more competitive districts. 

Despite record fundraising by the DCCC, the Democratic National Committee trails behind the Republican National Committee in overall fundraising. The DNC announced this week it raised $95 million in 2019, including funds raised through its Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund. According to a spokesperson, it was the DNC's best off-year online fundraising in a decade, and the total raised was $30 more than what the DNC raised in 2015 while Democrats held the White House.  But the RNC raised $241 million in 2019.

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