National political action committees. Unions. Prodigious self-funding. Hundreds and hundreds of small-dollar donations.
The candidates for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania are tapping all these sources to rake in millions of dollars to run for the highly competitive seat that GOP Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement is leaving wide open.
Although the 2022 election is more than a year away and the financial and political fields could change significantly, the major candidates have already filed several rounds of campaign finance reports, and clear differences in their fundraising powers have emerged. On the heels of their latest filing, for the third quarter of 2021, here’s where they stand.
John Fetterman, Pa. lieutenant governor
Fetterman, the first candidate to officially launch his senatorial campaign, jumped to an early fundraising advantage and has maintained it for the bulk of 2021.
To understand the scale of his fundraising operation, it’s actually more useful to compare his latest Federal Election Commission filings with others nationwide, rather than in Pennsylvania. Of all the politicians in the country currently running for U.S. Senate, he has raised the 12th most money. Most of the candidates who have raised more are incumbent senators, and the only one who isn’t is Val Demings, a Democratic congresswoman vying to run against a GOP field that includes incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio.
All told, Fetterman has raised $9.28 million since his campaign began. In the just-ended third fundraising quarter, he raised $2.7 million, an increase from his Q2 haul of $2.5 million. The vast majority of his donors have been individuals. Of those, half in Q3 came from the liberal online fundraising platform ActBlue, which means they were bundled and donor names weren’t shared.
In Q3, Fetterman reported raising just $700 from political action committees.
Fetterman spent $1.6 million in the most recent quarter, and has spent $5.1 million since the campaign began. He ended the quarter with $4.2 million on hand.
Conor Lamb, congressman (PA-17)
Lamb, one of the more recent entrants to the Democratic primary and, so far, the most formidable challenger to Fetterman financially, has brought in a total of $2.7 million since his campaign began. $1.2 million of that came in the third quarter, an increase from the $977,979 he raised in Q2.
Unlike Fetterman’s ActBlue support, most of Lamb’s individual donations came direct. He’s also getting more money than Fetterman from PACs: about $34,000 in Q3, and $225,000 in the campaign to date.
Those donations include $1,500 from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and $5,000 each from the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the pro-real-estate-interests REALPAC, and the Keystone Fund. He also got an email list from failed 2016 U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty, which was valued as a $2,000 in-kind donation.
Lamb spent $802,032 in the third fundraising quarter, and has spent $1.4 million since the campaign began. He ended the quarter with $2.2 million on hand.
Val Arkoosh, Montgomery County commissioner
Arkoosh has brought in $2.1 million since she entered the U.S. Senate race — but in this most recent quarter, she gave her campaign a generous boost from her own bank account. Of the $1.03 million she added in Q3 — about the same amount she raised in Q2 — nearly half of it came from a $500,000 loan to herself.
She raised $524,712 from individual donors in Q3, a significant slowdown from the $1.01 million she raised from individuals in Q2. She raised little from PACs in this most recent quarter, though in the campaign to date she’s netted $33,000 from PACs — including 2,500 from the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Arkoosh spent $622,079 in this most recent quarter, and has spent $1.02 million since the campaign began. She ended the quarter with $1.04 on hand.
Malcolm Kenyatta, Pennsylvania state representative
Since Kenyatta entered the race — one of the first to formally jump in — he has struggled to keep pace with other candidates’ fundraising, bringing in $1.2 million total. He raised $323,667 in the third quarter of this year, lagging the $502,627 he’d brought in the previous quarter.
Of this quarter’s funds, $15,000 came from PACs. They’ve given him a little over $32,000 overall, and big contributors have included $5,000 each from the national PACs for the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Working Families Party.
Kenyatta has spent a total of $881,341 since the campaign began, and spent $286,522 in the third quarter. He ended the quarter with $318,965 on hand.
Kevin Baumlin, a Philadelphia physician who is new to politics, has pulled in $580,126 since he launched his underdog campaign. He brought in $199,619 in Q3, mostly in individual donations. He spent $108,819 that quarter, and has spent $373,297 total. He had $217,681 at the close of the Q3 reporting period.
Sharif Street, a Democratic state senator from Philadelphia who has been exploring a run and filing reports, but hasn’t launched much of a campaign, has brought in $366,318 since he began filing. Much of that came from individuals, though he has also taken $38,050 from PACs. He brought in $121,553 in Q3, and spent more than that $156,129. He has spent $210,393 all told, and had $155,924 at the close of the last reporting period.
Carla Sands, businesswoman
Sands is by far the biggest self-funder on either side of the campaign. The candidate, who heads an investment firm, has raised a total of nearly $3.6 million, nearly all of which is a loan she gave to her own campaign.
The remaining $454,000 came from individual donors. Sands, who was a relatively late entrant to the race, has so far spent $293,000.
As of the end of Q3, she has $3.3 million on hand.
Jeff Bartos, businessman
Since he entered the U.S. Senate race, Bartos has drummed up a total of $2.9 million — $1.24 million of which has come from loans he gave to himself. Counting the $400,000 self-loan in Q3, he brought in $652,965. $234,138 was from individuals — a drop from the $557,053 he raised from individual donors last quarter.
Bartos hasn’t relied heavily on PACs, bringing in about $22,000 from committees since he began campaigning. One of his notable contributors was the PAC for Penn National Gaming, which gave $5,000.
He spent $265,821 for the quarter, and has spent $612,031 overall. He ended Q3 with $2.2 million on hand.
Sean Parnell, conservative author and media personality
Parnell, who beat out the rest of the GOP field for a coveted endorsement from former president Donald Trump, has raised a little less than $2 million since he started his campaign. In Q3, he brought in $1.1 million, a significant boost from the $560,985 he’d raised in the previous quarter, and a testament to the power of Trump’s endorsement among the voters most attracted to Parnell.
Of Parnell’s earnings, a relatively insignificant amount came from PACs — $14,250 in Q3, and $16,250 overall. The two biggest in the most recent quarter were $5,000 apiece from the FNB Corporation PAC and from the Fighting for Missouri PAC, a leadership PAC created by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the most vocal supporters of Trump’s attempt to subvert last year’s election results.
Parnell spent $627,034 in Q3 and has spent $1.05 million overall. He ended the quarter with $1.08 on hand.
Kathy Barnette, conservative author and media personality
Like Parnell, Barnette is a staunch Trump ally. But while his fundraising took off after the former president endorsed him, hers slowed down.
She blew through about $309,000 — significantly more than she took in — in Q3, and ended the quarter with a little more than $371,000 on hand.
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