Democratic senators running for reelection in states won by President Trump say the money they’re raising from out-of-state contributors is helping make the difference between victory and defeat.
In the past year, in addition to Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have opened fundraising accounts that accept donations from people in their home states but also get help from donors in states Trump won.
Sinema said that thanks to support from donors in California, New York and the Bay Area, she’s outraised GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.
“If you look at our numbers, I’m only slightly behind him in total dollars raised in his home state,” Sinema said. “We don’t need to rely on any other state to help us, and that’s what we get every time we raise money across the country.”
Manchin is getting help from people in West Virginia and about 2,000 people in his home state have maxed out their contributions to his campaign account.
McCaskill says outside fundraising will be a significant part of her next general election effort after she narrowly defeated a challenge from the Republican’s Chris Koster to return to the Senate.
“All of the outside money can certainly be a factor in what’s going to come up in November,” she said, adding that it was a factor in a recent Republican fundraiser, where she said she outraised Trump.
By drawing more money from donors in her home state, McCaskill says she’s having more success with voters. “We’ve actually done quite well with those home base people, and it kind of helps that we’ve got young folks who are donating, I think helping as well,” she said.
Manchin, McCaskill and Sinema will have to defend their Senate seats this fall in states that won by Trump. They are also facing Republican primary challenges from party activists who are wary of what they describe as their freshman Democratic colleagues. The president’s approval rating has fallen to 37 percent in Sinema’s state and 37 percent in McCaskill’s state, according to the latest weekly averages of the Gallup and YouGov polling firms.