Midterm Elections: “Money … Money”: Part II US Senate

Our current US Senate race has the hallmark of becoming yet another extravagantly expensive operation with money flying into the candidates’ coffers from all directions. Nationally the US Senate race in 2014 cost $3.8 billion and in 2016 $6.4 billion. Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign income received and spent stretching back five years to 2013 was respectively $25 million and $22 million. Unfortunately democracy is for sale.

In the NJ race for US Senate there were 14 potential candidates registered with the FEC. While some may later run as Independent or Unaffiliated candidates, only four provided proper petitions and are on the Primary ballot. Below is the funding their campaigns received in the 2017-2018 cycle from individual donations, Campaign Committee & Leadership PAC’s, but not from Independent funders which spend their monies directly for or against individual candidates. The candidates are:  

Total receipts Total disbursements Cash on hand Source reports

incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez 

$4,505,218.00 $802,055.00 $5,347,288.00 Coverage ending: 03/31/2018 

View all

Democrat Lisa McCormick FEC has no mention of  her nor receipt of any financials. She supports “Medicare for All” and is publisher of a community newspaper.  

Republican  Bob Hugin

$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 No processed data this period.

Republican  Brian Goldberg

$2,369.00 $1,378.00 $1,140.00 Coverage ending: 03/31/2018 

View all

It seems unlikely that Goldberg and McCormick offer any significant competition and that the race in the General Election will be between Menendez and Hugin. 

BOB MENENDEZ

in his election cycle of 2006 he raised $12 million, in 2012 $13 million, and so far in 2018 $5.4 million, but the race is far from over so we don’t know how much his campaign will ultimately receive. 

In addition to individual contributions of  $3.4 million, his campaign in this cycle received the remaining income from over 300 committees and groups. They included such entities as MurphyPAC, Prudential, Horizon, US-CubaPAC, Friends of Israel, American Hospital Association, Gibbons P.C. PAC, Carpenter’s Legislative Improvement Committee, many more unions and corporations and even Holding on to Oregon’s Priorities. For a complete list go  here.

ROBERT HUGIN

Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceutical firm executive, announced his Republican candidacy on February 13. He accused Sen. Menendez of being corrupt, but at least Menendez submitted his FEC filing on time. Hugin, like other candidates, was supposed to submit his financials through the end of March by April 15. However as of April 20, FEC indicates “No processed data” for him. Transparency does not seem a concern of his.

In his final full year of 2015 as Celgene CEO, Bob Hugin’s compensation racked up to $22.5 million, among the highest in biopharma. A 2018 estimate of his net worth is $48.0 million. Clearly he has money to burn in this race.

Menendez has a comfortable 21-point lead over Hugin in the most recent Monmouth University Poll, released last week. Similarly, Monmouth found Democrats have a 19-point advantage over Republicans in generic House polling. In the most recent incident contrasting the two candidates, while Menendez said he would vote not to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, the more cautious Hugin operating in a Blue state would not say whether he supports Trump’s nominee.

Particularly should the race slightly tighten, expect Hugin to open wide his warchest and for the Republican Party to spend generously. With no significant competition in the Primary, no large Independent Expenditure funders appear to have intervened. However, in the General Election they likely will get involved and spend their dark money (maybe huge amounts) for and against each of the two candidates. 

In Part III we will discuss further the impact of our current campaign financing laws which have produced a system in which all significant actors – candidates, parties, interest groups of whatever form, corporations and unions – can spend unlimited amounts on campaign-related expenditures while in many cases keeping their donors a secret.

To access other articles in this series, enter in the above SEARCH box: Midterm Elections: “Money

Comments (2)

  1. James Devine

    Do not say our current US Senate race is all about money unless you cover the one candidate who is virtually spending almost none of it!

    You ignore the one candidate who advocates Medicare for All, free public education pre-K to college, universal basic income, expanded Social Security, a federal job guarantee, and a host of other progressive programs.

    You overlook the incumbent senator’s dismal 30% favorable rating AMONG DEMCORATS, a million dollar TV ad campaign and the active effort of a more progressive primary challenger.

    How are you going to treat Lisa McCormick if she wins the nomination?

    Reply
  2. James Devine

    Do not say our current US Senate race is all about money unless you cover the one candidate who is virtually spending almost none of it!

    You ignore the one candidate who advocates Medicare for All, free public education pre-K to college, universal basic income, expanded Social Security, a federal job guarantee, and a host of other progressive programs.

    You overlook the incumbent senator’s dismal 30% favorable rating AMONG DEMCORATS, a million dollar TV ad campaign and the active effort of a more progressive primary challenger.

    How are you going to treat Lisa McCormick if she wins the nomination?

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *