Moderate Democrats and Republicans toting political baggage are among the House members who face primary challengers boasting notable fundraising hauls.
While it doesn’t necessarily portend victory, campaign cash is a critical early metric of viability. Having ample funds can boost a contender’s name recognition and ability to consistently disseminate a message, which helps level the playing field with an electorate inherently more familiar with the incumbent.
Here’s a look at the best-funded House candidates challenging incumbents from their own party in 2020. The dollar figures noted parenthetically refer to a campaign’s cash on hand as of Sept. 30. The next fundraising reports are due at the end of January and will cover activity over the last three months of 2019.
Carl DeMaio (R), California’s 50th District ($1.2 million cash-on-hand). DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman, is among the Republicans opposing Rep.
Other Republicans running include former Rep. Darrell Issa, who was one of the wealthiest members of Congress until retiring last year from the neighboring 49th District, and state Sen. Brian Jones. So is Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who lost 52-48% to Hunter in 2018 in the strongly Republican district near the U.S.-Mexico border. Under California’s top-two primary format, the two candidates with the most votes in the March 3 primary will advance to the November general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Jake LaTurner (R), Kansas’ 2nd District ($527,000). LaTurner, the state treasurer, pivoted to oppose one-term Rep. Steve Watkins in the Topeka-area 2nd District after previously campaigning for the state’s open Senate seat. Former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) urged LaTurner to instead challenge Watkins, who won by fewer than one percentage point in 2018 and underperformed in a Republican-friendly district President Donald Trump carried by almost 20 points in 2016.
Marie Newman (D), Illinois’ 3rd District ($514,000). Newman, a lawyer, is seeking to unseat Rep.
Lipinski, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats who prioritize fiscal restraint, is one of the few anti-abortion-rights Democrats left in Congress. He’s a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairman of its Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.
Newman won’t have a 1-on-1 race against Lipinski this time, though. Rush Darwish, a businessman, is also seeking the Democratic nomination and had banked $318,000 -- thanks in part to a $78,000 personal loan -- by the end of September. In most states, including Illinois, a plurality of the vote is sufficient for victory.
Chris Putnam (R), Texas’ 12th District ($448,000). Putnam is a businessman and former Colleyville city councilman who’s attacked Rep.
Randy Feenstra (R), Iowa’s 4th District ($406,000). Feenstra, a state senator, is the leading Republican seeking to unseat nine-term Rep.
Democrat J.D. Scholten is seeking the seat again after coming within 3.3 percentage points of unseating King last year in the strongly Republican district.
Jessica Cisneros (D), Texas’ 28th District ($292,000). Cisneros, a human rights lawyer, is taking on eight-term Rep.
Cuellar, a member of the Appropriations Committee, ran unopposed in five of the previous six Democratic primaries. His 91% rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on its 2018 vote scorecard was the highest for a House Democrat.
Morgan Harper (D), Ohio’s 3rd District ($239,000). Harper, a lawyer who worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is opposing Rep.
Beatty has a liberal voting record and is chairwoman of the Financial Services Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. She sponsored House-passed bills in the 116th Congress that seek to increase diversity on regional Federal Reserve Banks and provide mortgage insurance discounts to first-time homebuyers who complete a financial literacy course.
Holly Lynch (D), New York’s 10th District ($174,000). Lynch, who has a background in advertising and angel investing, is among several primary challengers to Judiciary Committee Chairman
Nadler’s other intraparty challengers include Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official who had $157,000 in the bank as October began. The district includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is staunchly Democratic.
Esmeralda Soria (D), California’s 16th District ($133,000). Soria, a member of the Fresno City Council, is opposing eight-term Rep.
Alex Morse (D), Massachusetts’ 1st District ($123,000). Morse, the 30-year-old Holyoke mayor, is seeking to unseat Ways and Means Chairman