One early lesson for Democrats from Election Night results in Senate races: Money isn’t everything.
In Kentucky, Amy McGrath vastly outraised incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. Jamie Harrison did the same thing to Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. As did Barbara Bollier in Kansas, who raked in far more cash than GOP nominee Roger Marshall.
It didn’t matter. McConnell and Graham retained their seats, and Marshall won his first campaign for the Senate. Those seats have traditionally been held by Republicans, and now will remain in GOP hands for six more years at least.
This suggests that — despite the notion that state and local races have increasingly become nationalized — it remains somewhat true that all politics is local. A lot of the money raised by the Democratic candidates came from out-of-state donors: ActBlue, a national platform for Democratic fundraising, took in a stunning $1.5 billion in contributions over the summer. Outsiders wanted Democrats to win those states’ Senate seats more than their residents did.
That’s not to say that money doesn’t make a difference. Cash probably helped McGrath, Harrison, and Bollier make their races more competitive than they otherwise would have been — it helped them buy a seat at the table, at the very least. But Kentucky, South Carolina, and Kansas tend to be conservative states with lots of conservative voters.
It was going to take more than money to change that fact; a cultural shift would have been required. Such shifts usually take more than one campaign cycle. Joel Mathis