I don’t quit when I am tired, I quit only aswhen it is done – 007
Fundraising totals for a lot of Democrats during this election cycle are simply off the charts. That’s part of a real problem for prognosticators.
The one that caught my eye on Monday was the third quarter filing for Hiral Tipirneni, the Democrat running in Arizona’s eighth congressional district. That’s a solid Republican district that includes Sun City and other Phoenix suburbs. Trent Franks held it until he resigned in December; Democrats didn’t even bother to contest it in 2014 or 2016. Although Debbie Lesko defeated Tipirneni by only 5 percentage points in a special election last spring, the Cook Political Report still lists it as a “Solid Seat” for Republicans.
Yet Tipirneni raised almost $1 million in the quarter that just ended. That’s … something that just doesn’t happen for a challenger facing a safe incumbent. Raising half that amount over an entire campaign in those circumstances would be surprising. This level? It’s mind-boggling.
And it’s not a fluke. Politico reports that 60 House Democratic candidates are expected to report that they raised $1 million or more during the recently ended quarter, compared with 21 from both parties in that quarter in 2016. That doesn’t include Tipirneni, who was a little short of that total, or another Democratic challenger in New Jersey who raised $750,000 in his presumably hopeless race against a safe-rated Republican incumbent. It also doesn’t count the huge amounts of outside spending on both sides.
This is unknown territory. It’s possible that all the current projections will hold anyway. But it’s also possible that this surge of Democratic enthusiasm isn’t being captured properly by either sophisticated quantitative models or by the kind of reporting that the Cook Report and similar experts do. No one really knows what will happen when such an avalanche of resources pours into so many contests at once.
The unknowns could go in either direction. Maybe everyone is missing other signs of Democratic enthusiasm that are so unusual we don’t even know what we’re looking for. Or maybe what we’re seeing is just increased intensity from people who would normally be voting anyway, and it doesn’t extend to people who don’t usually turn out for midterm elections.
Either way: All this exists up and down the ballot, from U.S. House and Senate elections, to governors and state legislative contests, and then to all the other state and local offices. There are always surprises on Election Day. But this one seems more likely than usual to deliver plenty of shockers.
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