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Democratic Sen. Kelly outraises GOP rival Masters going into final month of midterm campaign

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Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, appears in an undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on October 5, 2022.
Handout | Via Reuters

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly outraised his opponent, Republican Blake Masters, in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission Records.

Kelly’s campaign went into October, weeks before the midterm elections, with almost six times the amount of cash on hand.

Kelly’s campaign raised just over $21 million from July 14 until Sept. 30. Masters, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, brought in over $4.7 million over that same time period.

Kelly’s campaign went into October with over $13 million on hand while Masters had just above $2.8 million in his war chest. One of Masters’ top individual donations was a $4,950 contribution from the National Rifle Association. Masters, a wealthy businessman, contributed over $570,000 last quarter to his own campaign.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

The race was once seen as a strong pickup opportunity for Republicans in the battle for control of the Senate, but Kelly has been ahead in many of the most recent polls. A RealClearPolitics polling average has Kelly ahead by 4.5 points. The Cook Political Report marks the race as “lean Democrat.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters (R-AZ) on stage during a rally ahead of the midterm elections, in Mesa, Arizona, October 9, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

The Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats having to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris for tie-breaking votes.

A spokesperson for Kelly’s team pointed CNBC to a recent statement by campaign manger Emma Brown touting the senator’s fundraising haul. A spokeswoman for the Masters campaign did not return a request for comment.

The lag in Masters’ fundraising versus Kelly has been a theme throughout the campaign. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that going into the third quarter, Kelly had raised over $52 million while Masters had brought in just under $5 million.

The fundraising in the most recent quarter by both campaigns doesn’t include the amount raised by outside groups supporting each candidate. Saving Arizona, a pro-Masters super PAC that once saw $15 million from Masters’ ally and former boss, billionaire Peter Thiel, raised over $4 million from mid-July through the end of September. The super PAC, which can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money, has over $1.9 million on hand.

Although Thiel did not contribute to the super PAC last quarter, some of the more recent top donations include a $3 million contribution from shipping supply magnate Richard Uihlein and $1 million from cryptocurrency executives Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Thiel has signaled that, with Masters behind Kelly in both fundraising and the polls, he’ll continue to fundraise for his former employee. Masters was until earlier this year the chief operating officer at Thiel Capital.

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