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With the Senate Up for Grabs, All Eyes Are on the Presidential Race

Democrats think that Trump at the top of the ticket will make their path to control of the Senate easier. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Among those watching the White House race most closely a year from Election Day are those who stand to gain the most from the top-of-the-ticket contest. House and Senate candidates from both parties know their fates are closely tied to the fortunes of their parties’ respective presidential nominees and the tenor of the national conversation next November.  

“Obviously the national environment is something that, to a certain extent, we have very little control over,” NRSC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said. “So our mentality is to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”  

DSCC to Support Conner Eldridge in Arkansas

Eldridge out-raised Boozman in the third quarter. (Danny Johnston/AP File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a key national ally for candidates or Senate, endorsed Arkansas Democrat Conner Eldridge Thursday in his uphill race against Republican Sen. John Boozman next fall.  

"Conner Eldridge knows how to fight for Arkansas and will do exactly that once elected to the Senate," Sen. Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who chairs the DSCC, said in a statement. "After working to keep Arkansas communities safe from violent crime and drug trafficking, it’s clear Conner is an outstanding public servant who is the best candidate to win next fall, and we’re proud to support Conner in his campaign.”  Eldridge, a former Obama-appointed federal prosecutor, launched his campaign in early September and, in just a month, went on to outraise Boozman  in the third quarter,  $403,000 to $359,000.  

5 Races Where Deep Pockets Could Change the Game

MacArthur spent more than $5 million last cycle, much of which was his own money. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How much candidates have raised and how much money they have in the bank aren’t the only two numbers that matter in a quarterly fundraising report. The depth of a candidate's pockets and how deeply they're willing to dig into them can be just as, or more, important.  

Campaigns are often loath to draw attention to the self-funded portion of their disclosures — it can undermine the appearance of grass-roots support and set them up for attack.  

Incumbency Isn't Always an Advantage in Fundraising

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In Illinois, 8th District Rep. Tammy Duckworth has raised more than vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk and fellow Democrat Andrea Zopp. Duckworth hauled in $1.46 million to Kirk’s $1.05 million. She ended the period with $2.8 million on hand, compared to Kirk’s $3.62 million.

The biggest surprise came in Arkansas' safe Republican Senate seat. Less than a month after launching his campaign, wealthy former U.S. attorney Conner Eldridge  reportedly raised $403,000 to Sen. John Boozman’s $359,000. Boozman, however, still holds the cash advantage with $1.12 million in the bank. Because House candidates generally raise less money than their upper chamber peers, it’s less unusual for them to out-raise incumbents.  

Democratic Challenger Raised More Than Boozman in Third Quarter

Boozman was out-raised in the third quarter by his Democratic rival. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Democrat Conner Eldridge’s campaign said Thursday he raised $403,000 in the third quarter, a total well above the $359,000 raised by Sen. John Boozman, the Republican he is trying to unseat.  

The fundraising report came less than a month after Eldridge, a former U.S. attorney who was appointed by President Barack Obama, launched his campaign against the Arkansas Republican. “I am excited and encouraged by the momentum we have seen for our campaign in just 21 days,” Eldridge said in a statement.  

Democrats Prepare for the Unlikely in Senate Races

Democrats recruited a candidate to take on Boozman in 2016 — a tough task in a normal political environment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona, Arkansas and Missouri look like unlikely pickups for Democratic Senate candidates to win in 2016. But Democrats are preparing for the unlikely.  

You don't need to look any further back than 2012, when despite a favorable GOP climate, mistakes by two favored Republican candidates kept the party from winning control of the Senate.  

Former U.S. Attorney Will Challenge Boozman in Arkansas

Boozman will be challenged by Eldridge, a former U.S. attorney. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conner Eldridge, a Democratic former U.S. attorney, said Wednesday he will run for Senate next year in Arkansas against Republican Sen. John Boozman.  

The First Test of GOP Dominance in Arkansas

Boozman is seeking re-election next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

   

Arkansas is emerging from a swift political power transfer, with Sen. John Boozman suddenly finding himself the new dean of an all-Republican congressional delegation.  

Senators Confirm Re-Election Bids for 2016

Vitter has announced a bid for governor, leaving the future of his Senate seat in flux in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 cycle could feature the fewest open Senate seats in at least a decade.  

Of the 34 senators facing re-election next year, just one has announced retirement . A CQ Roll Call survey of the entire Senate class showed only one more senator publicly undecided about re-election, plus three additional senators considering bids for other offices. Two more Senate offices did not return requests for comment on re-election plans, though Democrats are near certain one of them — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will seek another term.