So what’s the status of the candidate recruitment process? How are the parties faring in recruiting top tier candidates? Now that second quarter fundraising reports have been filed, a clear picture is beginning to take shape. The chart below lists formally announced Senate candidates as well as snapshots of their fundraising abilities. Several candidates do not have amounts to report because they announced their campaigns just recently or else the FEC hasn’t posted second quarter totals yet. Fundraising amounts do not equate victory or defeat, but they do convey interest, legitimacy and illustrate that there is some level of support.
Furthermore, the only declared Democratic candidate in South Dakota doesn’t have the name recognition or credibility of the likely Republican nominee – former Governor Mike Rounds. Overall, the biggest challenge Republicans have faced in recent cycles is recruiting strong candidates who can win general elections. At this point, they’ve been fairly successful at finding solid candidates to fill open seats and take on vulnerable Democrats. There is still time for Democrats to find candidates in open seat contests, but the first filing deadline for a congressional primary is December 9th – just over four months away. As more days fall off the calendar, the more challenging it will be for new candidates to jump in the race.