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If Democrats struggle in November, it won’t be because of a lack of money

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Sen. Raphael Warnock at the Capitol on May 25, 2022.
Sen. Raphael Warnock at the Capitol on May 25, 2022.Francis Chung / AP

WASHINGTON — If it’s Monday ... Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the NAACP convention in Atlantic City. ... The Jan. 6 committee expects to receive erased Secret Service texts by Tuesday. ... Four people were killed, including suspected shooter, after a mall shooting in Indianapolis. ... Texas investigation finds that 376 law enforcement officials descended upon Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. ... And it’s one day until Maryland’s primaries.

But first: The second quarter fundraising reports are officially in, and they show what very well might be Democrats’ biggest advantage heading into November’s challenging midterm environment for the party: Money. 

The average Democratic Senate incumbent in a seat rated either Toss Up, Lean or Likely by the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter raised $9.4 million and had $14.5 million banked away as of June 30. That includes: 

  • Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.: $17.3 million raised, $22.2 million cash on hand.
  • Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz: $13.6 million raised, $24.9 million cash on hand.
  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto: $7.5 million raised, $9.9 million cash on hand.
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.: $5.1 million raised, $7.4 million cash on hand.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.: $3.4 million raised, $8.1 million cash on hand.

(Big hat tip to NBC’s Joe Murphy who helped compile these figures and others for our FEC analysis.) 

In addition, Val Demings raked in $12.2 million in Florida Senate (and has $12.6 million in the bank); John Fetterman brought in $11 million in Pennsylvania Senate (and has $5.5 million in the bank); Tim Ryan raised $9.1 million in Ohio Senate (and has $3.6 million on hand); and Cheri Beasley reported $7.4 million (and has $4.8 in the bank) in North Carolina Senate. 

By contrast, here are the GOP totals by incumbents defending competitive seats, as well as the GOP’s top challengers and nominees: 

  • Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.: $6.2 million ($3.6 million in the bank).
  • Herschel Walker in GA-SEN: $5.8 million ($6.8 million cash on hand).
  • Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: $4.5 million ($14.6 cash on hand).
  • Mehmet Oz in PA-SEN: $5.5 million ($1.1 million in the bank).
  • Adam Laxalt in NV-SEN: $2.9 million ($2.1 million in the bank).
  • Tiffany Smiley in WA-SEN: $2.6 million ($3.5 million in the bank). 

Even in Iowa, Democrat Michael Franken raised $2.8 million and has $1.1 million in the bank, while his GOP opponent, the longtime Sen. Chuck Grassley, raised $1.3 million and has $4 million in cash on hand.  

And it’s not just the Senate contests. 

House Democrats also enjoy a financial advantage over their Republican rivals in Cook-rated races where there are already nominees. 

The average Democratic incumbent in those races raised $1.1 million last quarter and closed June with $4 million in cash-on-hand (California Rep. Katie Porter and New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer have $19.9 million and $14 million banked, respectively). 

The average Republican incumbent in those races, by comparison, raised $736,000 last quarter and closed June with $1.7 million in the bank. 

Among the challengers: Democrats in these races raised an average of $705,000 and had $980,000 in cash on hand, while Republicans raised $394,000 and had $500,000 banked away through June.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 376 

That’s how many law enforcement officers descended upon Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, according to a new report from a Texas House committee, which the Texas Tribune described as “the most exhaustive account yet of the shooter, his planning, his attack and the fumbling response he provoked.”

The group included officers from the U.S. Border patrol, state police, Uvalde police, sheriff’s deputies, school police, county police, U.S. marshals and officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Investigators found that law enforcement failed to engage the gunman and retreated until backup arrived. “They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” investigators wrote.

Other numbers to know:

52%: The share of registered voters in the latest Fox News poll who expect the economy will be worse next year.

9: The number of vulnerable House Democrats who started airing TV ads in early July, per a Politico analysis.  

2: The number of bills the House passed on Friday to protect abortion rights. 

850: The number of arrests the FBI has made so far relating to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Internet sleuths are meanwhile still identifying participants, including a right-wing comedian, per NBC News’ Ryan J. Reilly. 

$17.9 million: How much Trump’s Save America Joint Fundraising Committee raised in the second fundraising quarter through the GOP online fundraising platform site WinRed alone, per Decision Desk’s Derek Willis and the ProPublica FEC Itemizer. 

$23,000: The balance of the late Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ campaign account, which NBCLX’s Noah Pransky reports was given to his widow without a clear campaign purpose. 

Midterm roundup: Cha-ching for Cheney

Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney continued to build her financial advantage ahead of next month’s GOP primary, where she faces Harriet Hageman, who’s been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. 

Cheney is among the five GOP incumbents who outraised their Trump-backed challengers in the latest fundraising quarter, although Hageman is the best-funded challenger of the group. Cheney raised $2.9 million to Hageman’s $1.8 million, ending the quarter on June 30 with nearly $7 million in her campaign account to Hageman’s $1.4 million. Cheney also spent nearly twice as much as Hageman over the quarter.

But that doesn’t mean Cheney will cruise to victory. Just ask Illinois’ Rodney Davis, South Carolina’s Tom Rice and West Virginia’s David McKinley — the three GOP incumbents who lost to Trump-backed challengers despite outraising and outspending them. 

In fact, Hageman could be the one who’s cruising. A Casper Star-Tribune poll released Friday showed Trump-endorsed Hageman with a 22-point lead over Cheney.

NBC’s Marc Caputo gets his hands on another Wyoming poll — via WPA Intelligence for the conservative Club for Growth — which shows Hageman up 28 points among likely primary voters, 59%-31%. (The Club for Growth has endorsed Hageman.)

From Caputo: “Those results are based on a model in which 13% of the primary’s voters are Democrats (Wyoming allows party-switchers to vote in primaries). The poll tested two other scenarios, where Democrats are 20% or 25% of the electorate, and Hageman still leads Cheney by 18 percentage points and 12 points, respectively.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Iowa Senate: GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley has an 8-point lead over Democrat Mike Franken in a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Pollster J. Ann Selzer acknowledged Grassley has a “solid lead,” but also said it’s Grassley’s “weakest showing since 1980.”

Pennsylvania Senate: The Associated Press reports that Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s absence from the campaign trail since suffering a stroke isn’t worrying party leaders and activists in the state, with one former county party chairman saying Fetterman’s campaign said he would “start getting out” around mid-July. 

Wisconsin Senate: Wisconsin Democratic Senate hopefuls took the stage for their first televised debate, with much of the conversation centered on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. 

Arizona Governor: Former Vice President Mike Pence is backing Republican Karrin Taylor Robson, putting him alongside other GOP establishment figures like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey but against former President Trump. 

Maryland Governor: The New York Times takes a deep dive into the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor ahead of Tuesday’s elections. 

Maryland-06: Republican Matthew Foldi, a 25 year-old conservative writer, has attracted some big-name endorsements, but he still faces a tough primary on Tuesday in the race to take on Democratic Rep. David Trone, per Politico. 

Michigan-11: Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens won an endorsement from the Detroit Free Press editorial board in her member-on-member primary against Rep. Andy Levin.

New Hampshire-01: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is endorsing Matt Mowers in the crowded GOP primary.  

Ad watch: Florida-15 primary heats up

In Florida’s 15th District, Republican Laurel Lee is out with a new ad touting her record as Florida’s former secretary of state.

In the ad, a narrator tells viewers, “For Congress, there’s just one candidate trusted by Gov. [Ron] DeSantis to secure our elections: Laurel Lee.”

Lee’s competing in an open seat race since Republican Rep. Scott Franklin is running for a neighboring seat due to redistricting.

Lee has been endorsed by Americans for Prosperity and state Attorney General Ashley Moody, but she still faces a handful of other candidates for the Republican nomination on August 23.

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve is considering a 0.75% rate hike during its late July meeting. 

While gas prices are falling, many voters haven’t changed their outlook on the economy as inflation remains high. 

A federal judge in Tennessee temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s directives on transgender athletes and bathrooms.

NBC News’ Tyler Kingkade reports on how Moms for Liberty, a conservative school activist group, is planning its next steps after a massive rise in the last few years. 

The New York Times reports on how some women have had issues receiving care for miscarriages in states that have strict laws on abortion.