Right-wing members of Congress like Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Matt Gaetz of Florida have all made their voices heard loudly as former president Donald Trump’s surrogates in Congress.
But the attention they have received has not necessarily translated into strong fundraising figures. In fact, all but two of them ran a deficit this last fundraising quarter. Despite this, most of these firebrand lawmakers, with the exception of Mr Cawthorn, should be relatively safe in their reelection efforts.
Ms Boebert, who infamously heckled President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address, was the only member of the so-called MAGA caucus who raised the $838,653.67 in the first three months of 2022. Conversely, she spent only $705,802.56 in the last fundraising quarter.
Part of the reason Ms Boebert did not need to spend as much is because after redistricting, Colorado’s 3rd District is even more Republican than before. That means she doesn’t need to spend as much as much money as she did if she had a district with more Democratic voters.
Liberal loathing of Ms Boebert means that Democrats have outraised her, despite her solidly Republican district. Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch raised $1.7m last quarter, while Sol Sandoval raised more than $265,000. At the same time, Ms Boebert also faces a viable primary challenger in Republican state senator Don Coram, who qualified for the ballot. This fundraising will likely mean she will have to step up her own cash grab.
Ms Boebert joined Mr Gaetz in raising more than she spent. Mr Gaetz has come under fire ever since news reports revealed last year that he was under federal investigation for allegedly paying to have a then-17-year-old girl travel with him. He has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime. This fundraising quarter, he raised only $602,185.16 in the last three months but spent $542,728.48.
Mr Gaetz seems to not be spending as much on legal fees as he has in the past, when he paid a lawyer who previously represented Jeffrey Epstein, John Gotti and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán for legal fees, as The Daily Beast reported. Conversely, his legal fees this cycle went to Venable LLP, which received $2,972 in campaign cash from the beleaguered Florida Republican who has become Mr Trump’s chief apologist in Congress.
At the same time, Mr Gaetz likely doesn’t face much electoral trouble, given that his state and district voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. While Florida is currently in a fight about redistricting, his potential future district will likely be overwhelmingly Republican and no viable Republican has stepped forward to challenge him.
Conversely, Ms Greene, who spoke at a conference in February hosted white by white nationalist Nick Fuentes, raised a respectable $1,071,681.01 in the first three months of 2022 but spent more than she took in – $1,413,599.67. As The Independent wrote last week, she paid a law firm connected to John C Eastman, who advised Mr Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, $10,000 this last fundraising cycle. But Ms Greene also tranferred $7,500 to her and Mr Gaetz’s joint fundraising committee while Mr Gaetz’s campaign account did not contribute anything.
Likely not coincidentally, this was the first fundraising quarter since Twitter banned Ms Greene’s personal account, though she still has her congressional account. Ms Greene had a massive following on her account, which enabled her to raise large amounts of money. By comparrison, she raised $3,219,754.05 her first three months in Congress last year.
But despite her deficit, Ms Greene still is in a good position to win, given how staunchly Republican her district is. Similarly, the money she raised shows she is still a major attraction for Republicans despite being in a secure district.
Plenty of Democratic small donors are hoping that Ms Greene’s increasingly inflammatory rhetoric makes her vulnerable. However, her district remains largely safe for Republicans. Mr Gaetz and Ms Boebert are also likely to benefit from solidly red districts.
But perhaps the most endangered member of the MAGA caucus is Mr Cawthorn, who came under fire from House Republican leadership after he said on a podcast that members of Congress were engaged in orgies and did cocaine.
But he was also in deep trouble after he attempted to run in a neighbouring district and is now trying to run in his old district. But other Republicans in North Carolina’s 11th District have refused to pull out after he tried to run in his old district. Unlike the other members of the MAGA crowd, Mr Cawthorn is perhaps the most endangered because he faces multiple viable Republican primary challengers and he made sweeping accusations about the Republican caucus, rather than simply going after Democrats and the left more generally.
Mr Cawthorn’s campaign is bleeding money fast, spending $698,592.27 while raising only $658,744.21. He also only has $242,304.36 in cash on hand at the end of the fundraising quarter.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies