Fetterman, Bartos strengthen campaign war chests in third quarter | Analysis

There’s now a clearer picture of which candidates have a financial advantage heading into the end of the calendar year

By: - October 24, 2021 6:30 am

John Fetterman and Jeff Bartos (Image via Commonwealth Media Services and the Bartos Campaign)

By Justin Sweitzer

The race for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat is heating up, not just in terms of the rhetoric and personal attacks being traded between candidates, but also in the amount of cash that candidates are raising to support their respective bids for office.

With the third quarter of 2021 having come and gone, there’s a clearer picture of which candidates have a financial advantage heading into the end of the calendar year – and which candidates are floundering.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the race, raised the most money and finished Q3 with more cash on hand than any other candidate. On the Republican side of the ticket, Army veteran Sean Parnell, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, raised the most money among those vying for the GOP nod. However, Republican candidates Carla Sands and Jeff Bartos ended the quarter with more cash on hand than Parnell for varying reasons.

Below, City & State breaks down the third quarter fundraising results of Pennsylvania’s leading U.S. Senate candidates, and what the figures mean for the race to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Republicans

Sean Parnell
Total contributions: $1,113,811.19
Operating expenditures: $620,539.21
Cash on hand: $1,084,200.42

Parnell is viewed by many as the current frontrunner in the state’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate after he received Trump’s endorsement in early September. That endorsement likely helped to boost Parnell’s Q3 fundraising results, with Parnell raising $1.1 million and ending the quarter with around $1 million cash on hand.

Jeff Bartos
Total contributions: $251,459.93
Operating expenditures: $265,821.76
Cash on hand: $2,240,853.94

Bartos may not have raked in individual contributions like Parnell, but he made up for it in other areas. He ended Q3 with more than double the amount of cash on hand than Parnell and also loaned himself $400,000 to bulk up his campaign coffers. Additionally, Jobs For Our Future, a super PAC supporting Bartos, raised $1,650,000 and has roughly $2,250,000 cash on hand. Bartos still has a significant amount of money behind his bid, which will keep things interesting as the primary intensifies.

Carla Sands
Total contributions: $454,031.13
Operating expenditures: $285,998.04
Cash on hand: $3,261,983.09

Much like Bartos, Carla Sands’ fundraising numbers are buoyed not so much by the individual contributions she received in Q3, but other sources of cash. Sands ended the quarter with more cash on hand than any other Republican candidate after she loaned herself $3 million of her personal wealth. The loan – coupled with a recent $1 million ad buy – represents a major play from Sands to boost her name recognition.

Kathy Barnette
Total contributions: $192,860.75
Operating expenditures: $305,310.25
Cash on hand: $371,151.92

After bringing in more money in contributions than any of her Republican rivals during the second quarter, Kathy Barnette suffered a lackluster Q3, raising just under $193,000 and finishing the quarter with $371,000 on hand. It’s possible that Trump’s endorsement of Parnell hurt Barnette in the most recent quarter, as Barnette had positioned herself as one of the most conservative, pro-Trump candidates in the race.

Democrats

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman
Total contributions: $2,698,274.09
Operating expenditures: $1,552,163.82
Cash on hand: $4,209,209.41

Fetterman has asserted himself as one of the strongest fundraisers in the Senate race, bringing in nearly $2.7 million in the third quarter alone. In addition to raising more money than any other candidate, he also finished the quarter with the most cash on hand: $4.2 million. Fetterman enters the last quarter of 2021 at the top of the pack in terms of fundraising, a trend he hopes will continue into 2022.

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb
Total contributions: $1,229,543.13
Operating expenditures: $792,760.04
Cash on hand: $2,199,883.17

Lamb, D-17th District, entered the Democratic primary in the middle of the third quarter, but he still managed to raise $1.2 million and finish the quarter with nearly $2.2 million on hand. Even before he entered the race, Lamb’s name was whispered in conversations about the primary contest, and his most recent fundraising haul underscores his status.

Val Arkoosh
Total contributions: $528,712.04
Operating expenditures: $620,244.26
Cash on hand: $1,038,709.48

Dr. Val Arkoosh. chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, saw her fundraising drop from Q2 levels, raising roughly $528,000 in Q3, compared to more than $1 million in Q2. Still, Arkoosh heads into the last quarter of the calendar year with more than $1 million cash on hand thanks to both Q3 contributions and a $500,000 personal loan to her campaign. Arkoosh also has the backing of EMILY’s List and 314 Action Fund, which could both add some financial muscle to her campaign.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta
Total contributions: $320,363.30
Operating expenditures: $284,714.79
Cash on hand: $318,965.61

Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, raised $320,000 in the third quarter and finished the period with about the same amount of cash on hand. Kenyatta has received a slate of endorsements in support of his Senate bid, ranging from teachers’ unions to state representatives to feminist activist Gloria Steinem, but those endorsements thus far have not translated to the type of fundraising figures that other candidates in the Democratic primary race have posted.

The above candidates represent those who raised the top sums in 2021’s third quarter. For an exhaustive list of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate candidates and their Q3 fundraising results, visit the Federal Election Commission’s website here.

Justin Sweitzer is a reporter for City & State Pa., where this story first appeared.

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