Breathtaking: 2012 Congressional candidates raise over $285 million in first half of 2011

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2012 Candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reported raising a total of $285.2 million from January 1 through June 30, 2011, according to disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Candidates seeking election to 33 U.S. Senate seats reported raising $103.1 million during the first six months of 2011. Candidates for the House of Representatives reported raising $182.1 million in that period.

U.S. Senate

The $103.1 million that 82 individual Senate campaign committees raised in 2011 was the highest total ever reported for the first six months in a non-election year, exceeding the previous high of $93.2 million raised in the first half of 2009. In 2005, the last time this same group of Senate seats was up for election, 85 candidates raised $84.8 million during the first six months of the cycle.

From January 1 through June 30, 2011, contributions from individuals accounted for $75.8 million, or 74 percent of the total Senate candidates raised.* Political action committee (PAC) contributions to Senate candidates totaled $17.5 million, representing 17 percent of the campaigns’ receipts.

Senate candidates ended the first six months of 2011 with $121 million cash-on-hand and debts of $5.4 million, some from previous elections.

U.S. House of Representatives

Campaign finance reports filed by House candidates for the period January 1 through June 30, 2011, show 420 House incumbents with combined receipts of $151.6 million, a $20.5 million (15.6%) increase from the same period in 2009. Individual contributions accounted for $75.8 million of House incumbents’ total receipts in the first half of 2011, representing a $13.2 million (21.1%) increase from the first six months of 2009.* Contributions from PACs amounted to $66.9 million, a slight increase of $2.1 million (3.2%) compared to the same time period in the previous election cycle. House incumbents reported a combined $217.4 million cash-on-hand total at the end of the reporting period, a decrease of $15.5 million (6.7%) from the first half of 2009.

Non-incumbent candidates raised a total of $30.5 million for House races during the first six months of 2011, slightly outpacing the $30.3 million raised during the same six-month period in 2009.  As of June 30, 2011, House non-incumbent candidates had a combined cash-on-hand total of $18.1 million, a $500,000 (2.8%) increase from the June 2009 combined total.

House freshman incumbents reported receipts of $37.2 million, an increase of $9.5 million (34.3%) from the same six-month period in 2009. House freshman incumbents received $20.8 million from individual contributors and $14.6 million from PACs and other political committees, representing increases of $7 million (50.7%) and $1.4 million (10.6%) from 2009 six-month totals, respectively. The combined cash-on-hand total for House freshman incumbents as of June 30, 2011 equaled $28.2 million, a $6.3 million (28.8%) increase compared to the combined total of the first six months of 2009.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.