Despite a chain of strong candidates in an unprecedented political climate, the majority of insurgent Democratic campaigns in special elections have failed to defeat their Republican opponent, an issue that seems to come down to one major factor: a lack of cash.
While individual donors have flowed in like water for congressional candidates like Georgia’s Jon Ossoff and Montana’s Rob Quist, the amount of cash these campaigns have gathered is nothing compared to the volume of monetary support heading to their opponents from the GOP.
The major discrepancy in cash is attributed to contributions from political PAC’s. For example, in the case of Ossoff’s run-off race for a rare Georgia Congressional seat, the main Democratic super PAC focused on House races has given $700,000 to the race while a Republican PAC has given a whopping $7 million to Ossoff’s opponent.
That kind of money has purchased aggressive attack ads against the young candidate and helped to bolster support for his opponent, Republican Karen Handel.
With that kind of difference in spending, it’s will likely be no surprise if Ossoff loses in the June 20 run-off election. If he wins? It will be without the help of the Democratic fundraising arm.
On his own, Ossoff raised a whopping $8.3 million from regular American contributors. Why didn’t this grassroots support translate to PAC money as well?
While PAC money is a poison to politics as a whole, until reform can be implemented across the board, it is necessary for Democrats to be just as competitive in these special elections as Republicans.
The fact is that if Democrats hope to be successful in any of these special elections, or in the upcoming midterm in 2018, they have got to throw all of their resources at as many candidates as possible. Republicans are certainly willing to spent wherever and whenever necessary.
Their motivation is clear: if Democrats begin to win these small races, momentum will gather for their side and help guarantee that the liberal party sweeps the midterms in 2018.
Now is not the time to be tight-fisted over old primary wounds, nor try and punish progressives for their less-than-warm embrace of Clinton. In Ossoff’s race and all others, Democrats must charge forward, full steam ahead.
Each victory is another bolster in the 2018 elections where Democrats have the ability to regain the majority and begin a real, legislative opposition to President Trump.