WASHINGTON – Democrat Katie McGinty raised nearly $1 million for her Pennsylvania U.S. Senate campaign in the last three months of 2015 – more than any of her Democratic rivals have reported in a single quarter, but less than some political operatives expected, given her substantial backing from party leaders and labor unions.
McGinty spent much of the $980,000 she raised as her campaign ramped up for a three-way Democratic primary in April. She ended 2015 with about $1.2 million on hand, about $300,000 more than she had in her previous report, at the end of September. McGinty, Gov. Wolf's former chief of staff, has now raised just under $2 million since entering the race last August.
Many were watching to see how McGinty turned support from the likes of former Gov. Rendell, ex-Mayor Nutter and the Democratic women's group EMILY'S List into campaign cash as she tries to win the primary and prepare for what promises to be an expensive, hard-fought general election campaign against Republican Sen. Pat Toomey – who reportedly had $9.8 million on hand at the end of December.
McGinty, a Philadelphia native who now lives in Wayne, is the party establishment's choice to take on Toomey in a race that could help determine control of the Senate and that has national implications.
But Democratic rival Joe Sestak, a former Delaware County congressman, will almost certainly have the financial edge as the year begins. He had $2.4 million in his campaign fund at the end of September (though around $600,000 of that amount is only available for the general election, not the primary). Sestak has not yet reported his fund-raising from October through December.
McGinty's $1.2 million campaign fund includes about $230,000 for the general election.
Political insiders are also awaiting the year-end totals from Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, who entered the race late last year and had about $144,000 on hand after just a few weeks of fund-raising. His report will help show whether the political maverick can turn his outsider appeal into the kind of financial muscle needed to run in a large, expensive state.
McGinty has received donations from 6,800 people since entering the race, her campaign said.
"I have received support from someone in every county and with this help, we are on our way to electing Pennsylvania's first-ever woman Senator," McGinty said in a statement.
A McGinty spokeswoman said the campaign is "confident" she will have enough money to compete in the primary and general election.
Full campaign reports from all the candidates are due by the end of the month.