GOP tops Dems in local money race

Strong fund-raising led Republican hopefuls for the House to triple their rivals' cash as of June 30.

Posted: July 19, 2014

WASHINGTON - Republicans are routing Democrats when it comes to raising money in the four most competitive House races in the Philadelphia region.

The Republicans in those contests have more than three times as much cash on hand as the Democrats: $5.36 million to $1.64 million as of June 30, according to campaign filings released this week.

In three of the four races, the Republican candidates raised at least twice as much in the latest reporting period as their Democratic rivals.

The GOP candidate in the fourth race, South Jersey's Tom MacArthur, made up for low fund-raising by donating $1 million to his own campaign, giving him a strong cash advantage over Democrat Aimee Belgard.

The fund-raising results show Republicans taking advantage of a strong national political environment for the GOP - which is favored to do well this year as President Obama's approval numbers plunge - as well as incumbency (in two races), and in MacArthur's case, personal wealth.

Replacing Gerlach. The GOP's strongest performer in the latest finance reports, however, had none of those advantages. Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello, seeking the seat now held by fellow Republican Jim Gerlach, who is retiring, raised $600,175 between May 1 and June 30, the most of any candidate in the top four races in the region.

Costello's opponent, Democrat Manan Trivedi, raised $236,170 in the same period. Costello had nearly $809,000 in his war chest as of June 30, compared with $357,664 for Trivedi.

The story was similar for Republicans in the congressional district encompassing much of Bucks County; in the New Jersey district that includes most of Burlington and Ocean Counties, and in the district that runs from Atlantic and Burlington Counties down to Cape May and Salem.

Big bucks in Bucks. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had $1.9 million in campaign funds as of June 30, compared with $269,000 for Democrat Kevin Strouse, who in May won a hard-fought primary.

Fitzpatrick raised $411,400 from May 1 to June 30, against $201,100 for Strouse.

Seeking Runyan's seat. MacArthur, a former insurance executive, also came through a tough GOP primary in South Jersey, but after putting $2 million of his money into that campaign, he replenished his funds with a $1 million loan. He had $1.1 million on hand despite raising only $102,500 in donations from May 15 to June 30.

(The periods covered in the reports are different because of different primary dates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.)

In the race to fill the seat that Republican incumbent Jon Runyan is vacating, MacArthur's personal wealth has allowed him to maintain a cash edge despite strong fund-raising by Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder. She took in nearly $351,500 from May 15 until the end of June, the best among the top Democratic challengers in the region.

Still, MacArthur's money gave him nearly double the $616,000 cash she had on hand.

Advantage LoBiondo. In the Shore district, Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo raised $250,000 from May 15 to June 30. His campaign fund had nearly $1.6 million on hand, leaving him well ahead of challenger William Hughes Jr., a Democrat who raised $54,000 and had $396,000 in cash as of June 30.


jtamari@phillynews.com

@JonathanTamari

www.inquirer.com/capitolinq

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