The Cook Political Report says Democrats have outraised Republicans in at least 60 GOP-held Congressional districts in the first quarter of 2018, compared to only six Dem districts where Republican challengers are the top dough-getters. CPR includes South Dakota on that list of Dem cash-advantage districts, even though it still labels South Dakota “Solid Republican.” CPR says Democrat Tim Bjorkman raised $130,616, compared to only $129,193 by the strongest (unnamed) Republican opponent.
Wait a minute: a South Dakota Democrat outperformed all Republicans in campaign fundraising? Not quite, say the figures from the Federal Election Commission:
|2018 Q1||Total Receipts||Total minus Self||Total minus Self minus PACs||Indiv||Self|
Yes, on total receipts, Bjorkman edged Dusty Johnson by over $1,400, or about 1% of Johnson’s Q1 take. But take out the candidates’ contributions to themselves, and Johnson beat Bjorkman in other people’s money by just about $6,000, or 5% of Bjorkman’s Q1 non-self take. Bjorkman comes back out on top if we adopt Bjorkman’s rejection of PAC money and subtract Johnson’s $9K in Q1 PAC money. But on individual contributions, itemized plus unitemized, Johnson edged Bjorkman by not quite $3,500, or 3.3%.
But check it out: in comparing the Democratic nominee and the GOP frontrunner, I’m using the verb edged instead of swamped, creamed, or clobbered. Bjorkman beat Krebs in every Q1 column and made mostly self-funded Tapio look ridiculous (not that Tapio needs much help in securing ridicule). And on small cash—donations of $200 or less than FEC doesn’t require to be itemized—Bjorkman beat Johnson, Krebs, and Tapio put together ($32,646.41 for Bjorkman, $13,569 for Johnson, $7,029 for Krebs, and $1,105 for Tapio).
Now don’t get too excited: as of March 31, Krebs reported 2.3 times as much cash on hand as Bjorkman did, and Johnson reported 2.8 times as much as Bjorkman. But Tim Bjorkman has joined our gubernatorial nominee Billie Sutton in demonstrating that Democratic ticket leaders in South Dakota can compete with Republicans in campaign fundraising.