If Democrats lose these House races, it won't be for lack of cash

Democrats have easily raised more cash than Republicans in dozens of key races as they try to take a House majority.

If the party fails to flip enough seats to win control of the chamber on Nov. 6, Democrats are unlikely to point to a lack of money as the cause.

Democrats have pulled in more cash than GOP candidates in 53 of the 72 House races the nonpartisan Cook Political Report considers competitive. It includes an advantage in 27 of the 30 contests Cook currently lists as toss-ups. GOP incumbents hold all but one of those seats.

In those toss-up districts, Democratic campaigns raised about $139 million through the end of September, versus about $80 million for GOP candidates. Collectively, the Democrats had roughly $38 million in cash on hand heading into the races' final stretch, more than the $28.7 million held by Republicans in those races.

Campaign contributions can provide a look into both voter enthusiasm and a campaign's ability to get its message out in the final days of a race. As in the past, much of the money is coming from out of state.

Still, "having more money is not always predictive of success," according to Kyle Kondik, managing editor of nonpartisan election analysis site Sabato's Crystal Ball.

"This year, a lot of those challengers are outraising the incumbents," Kondik said in an email. "It's hard to quantify how much the money matters but many Democrats are going to have the resources to get their message out in the closing days."

As Democrats try to flip a net 23 GOP-held seats and take a majority, most of the key battles this year will take place in districts held by Republicans. In those races, a money advantage will not necessarily lead to more votes for Democratic candidates.

Cook shows 17 districts of those potential flips leaning toward Democrats. They out-raised their GOP rivals and also hold a cash advantage in 13 of those races.

Republicans are in somewhat better financial shape in districts that are leaning in their direction, according to the Cook ratings. Fundraising and cash-on-hand advantages are about evenly split in those 25 races.

In races where an incumbent is running, the representative typically needs less cash to compete because of built-in name recognition.

Top election forecasters believe Democrats have the better chance to control the House in the next Congress.

Sabato currently favors the party to win 212 seats, or gain 17. It means Democrats would only have to flip a net six seats out of the remaining 22 toss-up races to win a majority. Cook gives Democrats an edge in 15 districts. The party would have to take eight GOP seats out of the remaining 29 districts the site classifies as toss-ups in that scenario.

Of course, Republicans could still hold on to the House if a handful of toss-up or Democratic-leaning contests swing their way between now and Election Day.


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