Democrats' financial advantage grows in tightest U.S. Congress races

U.S. House Democrats announce an alternative plan to help the current financial and banking crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington
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By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on the ballot for November's most competitive congressional elections have a growing financial advantage over Republicans, with a few Republican campaigns showing signs they are struggling at fundraising, new financial disclosures show.

Republicans are still favored to win control of at least one chamber of the U.S. Congress on Nov. 8, boosted by widespread dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

But Democrats ended June with about $15 million more in the bank than their Republican opponents in 17 congressional races that are widely seen as toss-up elections on Nov. 8 and have finished party nominating contests, according to disclosures filed to the Federal Election Commission late on Friday.

In most of these races, Republican candidates still appeared to be raising enough money to mount viable campaigns, said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

But money is not pouring into Republican campaign coffers for Ohio's 9th congressional district, where Republican activist J.R. Majewski ended June with only about $113,000 in the bank.

Majewski, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, first gained attention by painting his lawn with a giant "TRUMP" sign and has recently been the subject of news coverage exploring his links to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement and his presence at the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on Congress. Kaptur, first elected in 1982, ended June with about $1.7 million in the bank.

If she wins a 21st term in November she would become the longest-serving woman to ever hold a seat in Congress.

"If Republicans come up like a little bit short in some of these swing districts, the huge money advantage for Democratic incumbents will probably be part of it," said Kondik.

Majewski's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Other Republicans who trailed badly in fundraising during the last three months included Colorado state senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, whose campaign for Colorado's 8th district only raised about $150,000 during the period. The Democrat in the race, state representative Yadira Caraveo, brought in around $600,000.

Democrats also outraised Republicans in U.S. Senate races in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, the chamber's tightest contests in November where party nomination contests have already played out.

Republican candidates in those three races still raised nearly $15 million between April and June, a large sum even if Democrats raised more than twice as much.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Alistair Bell)