WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – In the first week after the Supreme Court stripped a woman of her constitutional right to have an abortion, Democrats and aligned groups raised more than $ 80 million, a tangible early sign that the ruling could encourage voters.
But some officials say donors give much of that money to national campaigns and affairs instead of races for government officials, where abortion policies will now be shaped as a result of the court’s decision. This is where Republicans wield excessive power after more than a decade of money and resources plunged into critical but often overlooked competitions.
The inequality in fundraising provides an example of how a lack of long-term planning can lead to both a structural disadvantage and an inflamed Democratic basis. Short of the votes to pass legislation through a captured and narrowly divided Congress, the right to abortion now appears to be the latest issue largely relinquished to the states. This is after failed Democratic attempts to expand voting rights, restrict rallying and significantly tighten gun laws.
“We can no longer afford the Democrats’ systematic neglect of race with a discount letter – not when Republicans are eager to intervene in our health care decisions, bedrooms and marriages,” said Gabrielle Chew, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. , which helps. to fund state legislative racing. “It should be a wake-up call.”
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The massive $ 80 million fundraiser was recorded by ActBlue, the Democrats’ online fundraising platform, which has a ticker that shows in real time the money going through the organization. ActBlue raised more than $ 20 million in the first 24 hours after Supreme Court Roe v. Wade overturned, the 1973 ruling that ruled that abortion was a constitutional right. By Tuesday, the group had processed more than $ 51 million in donations, and by Friday, the total had reached $ 80 million.
In fact, all major Democratic campaign committees have reported an increase in contributions since the ruling, including those working at the state level as well as federal races. Planned parenting too. But few were willing to disclose hard figures.
WinRed, the online fundraising portal for the Republican Party, has not responded to a query about the party’s fundraising since the court’s decision.
The difference in fundraising is nothing new between Democratic groups working for state candidates and those who focus on national issues after a decisive moment. For example, ActBlue raised more than $ 71 million in just 24 hours after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, little of which went to groups working on state-level campaigns.
Consider the case of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Jaime Harrison, who shattered fundraising records in 2020 in his long-term effort to win the Republican Senate. Expel Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and go to Congress in Washington. Harrison eventually lost the race by more than 10 points. He raised more than $ 57 million in the last months of his campaign, including one 24-hour period in which he raised more than $ 1 million.
But for state houses? The Democratic Governors’ Association has announced that it has raised $ 200,000 online following the court’s decision last week. The organization said Thursday it is on track to raise $ 1 million before the start of the long Fourth of July weekend.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which raises money for state races across the country, declined to say how much it has taken since the court ruling. But its previous fundraising figures show how flawed the group is.
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The DLCC raised $ 650,000 in the 48 hours after a leaked copy of the court’s ruling appeared in May. Earlier this year, it celebrated with the announcement that it had raised nearly $ 6 million in the last three months of last year.
Its GOP counterpart, the Republican Leadership Committee, raised more than twice as much in the same period last year.
“When Democrats go 1-to-1 with Republicans in legislative racing (spend), we win them,” says Greg Goddard, a Florida Democrat who raises money for national and state campaigns. “But when it’s 3-to-1, or 4-to-1, we get messed up.”
Amanda Litman, co-founder of the group Run For Something, which is recruiting candidates to run for school councils, city councils and lawmakers, said Democrats have a sad track record when it comes to investing in down-to-earth ballot races that are also a bank of future talent.
“The worst laws will come from the reddest states, and they will not stay within those red state borders. So, what are you going to do to mitigate the damage? ” Litman said after the abortion ruling. “I want to see Joe Biden do fundraisers for the DLCC and the DGA.”
The Democratic fundraising ecosystem typically rewards social media stars, those who appear on popular liberal programs, such as Rachel Maddow, or candidates who go viral online. It is extremely difficult for candidates in races that do not attract much attention from home, like most legislative competitions.
Meanwhile, large dollar donors have historically donated to national candidates, or groups focused on the presidency or congress.
Still, some Democrats are furious at the proposal that races with a poll are not getting enough attention.
Sam Newton, a spokesman for the governors’ association, said it had its own success story to tell. Democratic candidates in key states have seen huge donations after the court ruling, he said. The group also closed a 2-to-1 fundraising gap with Republicans that existed less than a decade ago, reaching equality last year.
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Planned Parenthood is part of a joint effort with abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List, which supports women elected to office, who plan to spend $ 150 million up and down in the 2022 interim vote, says Jenny Lawson, CEO. Director of Planned Parenthood Votes.
Governors’ races will be a big focus, she said, referring to Michigan and Wisconsin in particular, where decades-old laws banning abortion are still on the books. (Michigan law dates back to 1931; Wisconsin’s until 1849.) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, both Democrats, face stiff re-election battles.
“Those governors stood before these Republican lawmakers who want nothing more than to ban abortion and they said ‘no,'” Lawson said. “These governors are on the front lines, and we need to protect them.”
But others are skeptical that the effort will slip away from high-profile racing.
Litman said some party donors are warming up with the idea of giving contests a vote. But there remains a culture in the party, especially among mega-donors, to pursue the “bright, shiny object,” she said. Republicans, meanwhile, treat political giving as a “business investment – you get your judges and tax cuts” and “you spend money patiently knowing it will pay,” she said.
“We need to balance our short-term immediate election goals with a long-term mission to win these seats back,” Litman said.