Cruz, Hawley dwarf potential 2024 rivals in fundraising

Cruz, Hawley dwarf potential 2024 rivals in fundraising

Some potential Republican 2024 presidential hopefuls are starting to see their coffers fill up — particularly those senators who led efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to quarterly FEC filings from their reelection committees.

Former President Donald Trump has teased a third run and would be the likely Republican nominee if he wanted it, according to early polling. But the senators’ hauls over the first three months of the year offer clues about who has the big- and small-donor interest two years before campaigning begins in earnest.

Among the names being bandied about for the 2024 GOP mantle, most are not up for reelection next year, which makes some of these numbers for the first full quarter since the November election all the more interesting. Because Trump is not running an active campaign, his next filing won’t be until July.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) led the pack in first-quarter contributions, with totals that dwarfed those of their potential competition. Cruz brought in $3.6 million to his Senate reelection committee, which reported $5.6 million in cash on hand, with another $1.7 million raised for his leadership PAC and joint fundraising committee. Hawley’s totals: $3 million in receipts, with $3.1 million on hand.

Neither is up for reelection until 2024, and both were key figures in the January efforts to object to the Electoral College results. Although Democrats and some Republicans condemned those actions, that seemed to aid, rather than hurt, their fundraising power this quarter. In recent weeks, Cruz has been a frequent guest on Fox News Channel’s evening programming to attack the Biden administration’s handling of issues at the southern border.

The next two top performers — who will both be on the ballot next year — were Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Paul raised $1.9 million and has $3.1 million on hand, while Rubio reported a haul of $1.6 million this quarter, with $3.9 million in cash on hand. Neither Paul nor Rubio voted to overturn the election results.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who was just elected to his second term, raised just under $130,000 and has $2.1 million on hand. In February, he staked one of the most anti-Trump positions of the presidential hopefuls, with a direct-to-camera video that derided some of the reflexive defense of Trump’s actions — or, as he put it, “the weird worship of one dude.”

Also recently reelected, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) reported bringing in about $397,000, for a total of $6.5 million in cash on hand, while Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who mostly self-funded his 2018 campaign, raised about $96,000 and has just under $2.2 million in cash on hand. Cotton voted against the objections to the Electoral College, while Scott joined just six other Republicans in objecting to Pennsylvania’s electors.

All of them would be vying to take on President Joe Biden in 2024, who has said he will likely run for a second term with Vice President Kamala Harris on the ticket. Biden will file his first campaign finance report in July.

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