Battleground States Update: Democratic AG Candidates Outraising GOP Again and Again
May 28, 2020
As the 2020 election cycle heats up, the Democrats running for state Attorney General in the battleground states of Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania continue to outraise Republican incumbents and challengers. The consistent fundraising success shows Democrats are preparing a strong defense for incumbents and fired up to flip seats blue in the Fall.
- INDIANA: Democratic AG candidates State Sen. Karen Tallian and former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel together raised more than $188,000 while the ever-shuffling Republican AG candidates together didn’t even scratch $150,000. Both Democrats are well positioned for a general election fight with more cash-on-hand as well. To add insult to Republican incumbent AG Curtis Hill’s fundraising and legal injury, Indiana’s top Republicans are actively lobbying delegates against him ahead of next month’s GOP state convention. Embattled incumbent Curtis Hill’s law license is currently suspended for 30 days following charges of sexual misconduct and battery. As a reminder, the Republican Attorneys General Association continues to financially back AG Hill including making a contribution earlier this month of $10,250.
- MONTANA: In the race for this open seat, Democratic AG candidates Raph Graybill and State Rep. Kim Dudik both outraised Republican AG candidates John Bennion and Austin Knudsen for the fifth filing period in a row. In the last filing before the June 2 primary, Graybill and Dudik collectively reported more than $47,000 raised whereas Bennion and Knudsen are bleeding cash and scraped in just over $25,000 combined raised. As a reminder, Montana has a history of electing Democrats statewide including in the past two cycles.
- NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic incumbent Josh Stein headed into this year with more than $4 million cash-on-hand compared to the $322,000 raised by his now Republican opponent Jim O’Neill. But after O’Neill was forced to spend in a contentious GOP primary, he is now left with less than $40,000 cash-on-hand. The next reporting will be in July. As a reminder, AG Stein won by a larger margin than Governor Roy Cooper in 2016, winning by over 20,000 votes.
- PENNSYLVANIA: Democratic incumbent Josh Shapiro continues to widen his fundraising advantage over Republican challenger Heather Heidelbaugh. In the most recent filings, AG Shapiro raised nearly $750,000 with more than $4 million cash-on-hand. Meanwhile, Heidelbaugh shows less than $80,000 raised and less than $150,000 cash-on-hand. As a reminder, AG Shapiro earned more votes than anyone else on the Pennsylvania ballot in 2016 – including 80,000 votes more than Donald Trump.
These strong fundraising numbers build on the trend that emerged with Trump’s election in 2016: voters prefer Democrats at the state AG level in battleground states. Additionally, voters overwhelmingly identify access to affordable health care as a top voting issue in these battleground states. The current global health crisis only underscores the urgency of electing leaders who are committed to protecting access to lifesaving care.
For more on the role health care will play in these battleground states, check out this memo linked here.