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These House Incumbents Didn’t Make the Fundraising Grade

It’s typical for sitting House members to outraise their prospective challengers, especially this far out from Election Day. They have the advantage of incumbency, they’ve done the fundraising thing before, and they have their House colleagues in their corners.

But a review of information provided by the Center for Responsive Politics finds that several incumbents are already failing to keep pace with their competitors — a sign of potentially major trouble for these sitting members of Congress.

Check out our list of House members after the jump …

While multiple House incumbents may find themselves outraised for a quarter, overall, most members still have more cash than their opponents. The following members weren’t so lucky:

House Incumbents Outraised Overall

**Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.): **Bartlett raised just $95,452 through Dec. 31 for his re-election race in Maryland’s 6th District, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. One of Bartlett’s Democratic challengers, former television news anchor Casey Clark, raised more than that: $145,329. But Clark’s total was boosted by a hefty $50,000 personal loan from Clark himself. Bartlett, 83, has easily won re-election in his conservative district and is expected to do so again in 2010, though he continues to be a target of retirement rumors. Bartlett has indicated he will be running for a 10th term this fall, but even if Bartlett does not run, his district would likely be won by a Republican.

**Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.): **Bishop’s fundraising numbers aren’t shabby: $954,526 total raised. But his challenger’s numbers — padded by a significant personal loan of $200,000 — are even better. Republican businessman Randy Altschuler reported raising $1,049,150, which includes the $200,000 contribution. Bishop won re-election to his 1st district seat with 58 percent of the vote in 2008, but voters there only supported President Obama for president with 51 percent, an indicator of the district’s competitive potential. Bishop continues to hold the advantage of incumbency, but could be in for a competitive race regardless.

Dan Lungren (R-Calif.): Democratic challenger Ami Bera, a physician and first-time candidate, raised more money than Lungren in the 3rd District race. Bera reported raising $871,052 to Lungren’s $756,295 through Dec. 31. The DCCC donated $1,000 to Bera on Dec. 30, and committees connected to Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) all donated at the end of 2009 to Bera, who also invested $12,489 in personal funds to his campaign. (Update: The DCCC informs me that Bera is the only remaining Democrat in the race and donations were made to Bera after he had cleared the field.)

John Murtha (D-Pa.): Republican candidate Bill Russell, an Army veteran, challenged Murtha in 2008 and received, back then, substantial funding from national Republicans for his campaign. Now, Russell’s back for another bid in the 12th District, and it appears he’s thus far been able to post strong fundraising numbers without national assistance. Russell reported $2,865,593 raised this cycle, and only $5,500 of that came from PACs. Murtha reported $909,466 raised overall. While Murtha continues to wield the advantage of incumbency — he is a 36-year House veteran — he did receive negative press for a House investigation into whether he and other members traded earmarks for donations. That investigation concluded in December, but other investigations into businesses that received earmarks are still reportedly underway. Murtha was hospitalized this week, days after undergoing gall-bladder surgery.

Dave Reichert (R-Wa.): Reichert is a perennial target for Democrats, mostly due to his competitive Seattle-area 8th District. For his first congressional bid in 2004, the national parties spent more on his open seat race than any other House contest that year. This time, Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene, a former executive at Microsoft Corp., has already raised $1,047,873, and Reichert posted nearly the same amount: $1,041,244. The difference is that DelBene’s total included $509,033 in personal funds. Reichert won re-election by 5 percent in 2005, 3 percent in 2006 and nearly 6 percent in 2008 against the same opponent he defeated in 2006, Darcy Burner.

**Bill Young (R-Fla.): This congressional veteran never raises much in the off-year, so his appearance on this list is unsurprising. Yet what’s different about the 2010 cycle is that Young is expected to face a more robust challenger in his 10th District than in years past. Young has raised just $63,801. His challenger, Democratic state Sen. Charlie Justice, reported raising $212,292. Justice received financial assistance from several labor-related PACs in the last quarter of 2009. Young, 79, is the subject of persistent retirement rumors. He has stated he’s receiving pressure to run for re-election, but he has not made an official announcement. Were Young to retire, Republicans would definitely have trouble holding his competitive district. Voters there supported Obama with 52 percent of the vote in 2008.


List of outraised incumbents originated from OpenSecrets.org. All fundraising totals were obtained from Federal Election Commission filings.

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