By Ginger Gibson and Grant Smith
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democrats collectively have a $10.5 million fundraising advantage over Republicans in the 25 most competitive races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives that are viewed as key to determining which party controls the chamber after the November elections, according to an analysis of disclosures reviewed by Reuters.
The fundraising gap could reflect opposition to President Donald Trump and growing enthusiasm among rank-and-file Democrats toward the midterm elections. The added cash will help Democrats pour more money into advertising and voter outreach efforts.
Party leaders, encouraged by recent victories in special elections in Pennsylvania and Alabama, hope it will be enough to help them flip 24 seats needed in November to wrestle control of the chamber from Republicans.
Still, the analysis also shows that the average Republican candidate has raised more funds than the average Democrat. Because most of the seats are either open or already held by a Republican, the funds raised by Democrats are spread among more candidates vying for their party's nomination. In the races covered by the analysis, there are 127 Democrats and 65 Republicans.
All 435 members of the U.S. House will stand for reelection in November. Recent polls have found conflicting evidence of whether voters are gearing up to produce a wave that would favor Democrats. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found older, white voters abandoning the Republican Party. And a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday found the gap among all voters between Republicans and Democrats narrowing.
By the end of March, Democrats in the most competitive races brought in $44.7 million and had $40.5 million in cash left over. Republicans from the same districts reported raising $34.2 million with $27.9 million in cash.
The totals represent 25 of the most competitive congressional races across the country, including 23 currently held by Republicans, according to a Reuters review of the ratings of three independent political analysis groups: Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The fundraising amounted to $351,740 per Democrat and $525,506 per Republican.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson in Washington and Grant Smith in New York. Additional reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by David Gregorio)