Money doesn't equal happiness, at least not for Senate Republicans.
After a dismal fall and winter where many Republican candidates failed to raise as much money as Democrats, the GOP finally found their groove in the first quarter of 2018. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican fundraising behemoth, entered the race against Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., early last week, while Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., posted a $1.1 million dollar haul in only six weeks — both of which give Republicans hope.
But Democrats still hold a massive advantage after incumbents and key candidates continued to pile up their own cash in the first three months of 2018.
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, posted a $6.7 million quarter, while Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, raised $3.9 million and $3.3 million, respectively. The two incumbent Democrats each have over $11 million in the bank, agitating to Republicans.
"We have seen absolutely white-hot fundraising from Democrats up and down the board for over a year," said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "Lots more needs to be done. We're not anywhere near where we need to be."
In addition to Scott's entrance and Cramer, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, raised $3.3 million — less than half of O'Rourke's total, but both reported just north of $8 million in cash on hand.
Other Republicans have remained underwhelming on the fundraising circuit.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., posted $1.2 million in the first quarter, an uptick from the paltry $500,000 he raised at the end of last year. However, he has only $1.6 million in the bank compared to $10 million for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
"We have very robust numbers. If you look at our candidates, they've done very well," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "A key indicator from my perspective is the amount our candidates are raising online. That's a sign of a lot of grassroots energy and activism."
Two top Republican candidates in key races, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Missouri Attorney Gen. Josh Hawley, both posted underwhelming figures in the eyes of top Republicans in the final months of 2017, raising questions about their campaigns in the process. Neither has released their openin