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Democratic congressional candidates are feeling some momentum after strong fundraising

Democratic congressional candidates are feeling some momentum after strong fundraising

Only $5 for 5 months

WASHINGTON — Democratic congressional candidate Kara Eastman is ahead of the fundraising pace she set last cycle.

Her campaign says it raised about $710,000 from April 1 to June 30, bringing the total for this election cycle to just over $1.45 million.

Eastman said in a statement that those numbers indicate that people are ready for “real representation” in the Omaha-based 2nd District.

“In Congress, I promise to be a steadfast advocate for Nebraskans fighting to lower prescription drug costs, address the rampant inequality in our country and improve economic opportunity for my constituents,” Eastman said.

The campaign reported $404,224 cash on hand for her rematch with incumbent GOP Rep. Don Bacon. She narrowly lost her previous challenge to Bacon in 2018.

By comparison, at this point in that race, Eastman had raised $782,563 and reported $258,318 cash on hand.

The general election is still months away, but Democrats are feeling some momentum between robust fundraising and President Donald Trump’s low polling numbers.

Just consider some of the campaign finance reports trickling in for a few competitive races in Nebraska and Iowa.

To to be clear, Midlands Republicans are raising plenty of money as well to pay for all those yard signs, television spots and campaign staffers.

Bacon’s campaign announced that it raised $510,395 in the second quarter, which brings his total to date up to $2.2 million. The campaign has more than $1 million cash on hand.

In a statement, Bacon said he was grateful to his supporters who sent what they could during a pandemic.

“I won't let them down,” Bacon said. “I'll continue to work hard every day to keep my promises and ensure socialism does not have a foothold in Nebraska."

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., also has yet to release his most recent numbers, but at the end of the last reporting period his campaign had a full $1.9 million cash on hand. Fortenberry represents Nebraska’s 1st District, which covers much of eastern Nebraska and includes both Lincoln and Bellevue.

Fortenberry faces State Sen. Kate Bolz, a Democrat.

The Bolz campaign said in a statement that she raised about $264,000 for the most recent quarter, bringing her total for the overall cycle to more than $500,000. She has $253,462 cash on hand. Although that leaves her far behind Fortenberry, it also indicates that she will have the means to mount the best-financed campaign against him in years.

After all, her overall fundraising number represents more than the combined total raised by Fortenberry’s previous six Democratic challengers — going all the way back to 2008.

Nebraska Democrats still face massive challenges in other races.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Ben Sasse has raised a little less than $4 million this cycle and had more than $2.5 million cash on hand at the end of the most recent reporting period. His embattled Democratic challenger Chris Janicek, meanwhile, has raised a tiny fraction of that and faces a push from his own party to stand aside over sexually explicit comments he made about a staffer in a group text.

Across the river in Iowa, Republican incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst says her campaign has $9.1 million cash on hand. The campaign described that amount as the largest publicly available cash-on-hand total of any Iowa candidate in recent history, and it comes after the campaign raised about $3.6 million in the second quarter.

Ernst’s challenger Theresa Greenfield, meanwhile, has announced more than $6 million in contributions for the second quarter, which her campaign said represents a record for a Democratic Senate candidate in the state.

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, meanwhile raised $836,000 from April 1 to June 30, according to her campaign. That brings her total for the cycle up to just shy of $4 million. Her campaign has $3.1 million cash on hand.

Axne defeated incumbent Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, in 2018. At this point in 2018 Axne had raised a little less than $1.1 million and had $466,000 cash on hand.

She faces a re-match against Young this fall.

Young’s campaign says he raised $544,000 from April 1 to June 30, which brings his overall total to a little less than $2 million. The campaign has about $1.4 million cash on hand.

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Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH.

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