Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton raised $1 million at a single New York City fundraiser last week – a $50,000-per-candidate boost for the 19 Democrats he has endorsed in House races.
The total from Thursday’s New York fundraiser, detailed by a Moulton aide, comes after he raised $600,000 for the candidates he’s backing at a forum last year in Boston.
Moulton’s first big-dollar event outside his home turf of Massachusetts is another indicator of Moulton’s emergence as one of the most prolific fundraisers and bundlers among House Democrats outside of leadership ranks. In New York, about 140 donors gave between $250 and $107,000 – including 50 with donations of more than $1,000 – to a joint fundraising group that includes Moulton’s political action committee and the 19 Moulton-backed candidates.
His political team is now planning more events in California, where he will introduce the candidates he is backing to his donor network and hold campaign training sessions, the aide said.
“This shows there’s lots of energy for 2018. Both activists and donors are energized and ready to take back the House,” Moulton said. “We’re glad we can do what we can to tap into the energy that’s building on the ground, and will continue to double down on our efforts to take back the House in 2018.”
Moulton’s efforts have drawn attention largely because they are separate from the official Democratic apparatus.
He knocked off longtime incumbent Democratic Rep. John Tierney to win his seat in 2014 and is among the party’s most prominent critics of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California. And while most of the candidates he’s endorsed also have the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, some don’t.
For example: He’s supporting Amy McGrath, a former Marine combat pilot, in a Kentucky primary where much better-known Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is running.
He’s also backing Conor Lamb, an attorney and former Marine, in a March 13 special election in a right-leaning congressional district in western Pennsylvania, where Republicans have vastly outspent Democrats on the airwaves.
Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq, has focused his recruitment and endorsement efforts on military veterans. He told CNN late last year that he is “literally recruiting a new generation of leaders for the party” – a comment that elicited some eye-rolls within Democratic leadership ranks.
His 2018 efforts, combined with recent trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, have fueled speculation about Moulton’s future potentially including a presidential run.
At $1.6 million, a Moulton aide noted that he now tops all House Democrats in raising money that goes directly to candidates. That, though, is a narrow figure that does not include money raised for the DCCC – which is then spent backing Democratic candidates with TV ads, field organizing programs and more.
All told, Pelosi is still the top Democratic fundraiser, hauling in $48 million for the current cycle – including $46 million raised for the DCCC, another $1 million paid in DCCC dues and nearly $1 million for individual candidates, a Democratic aide familiar with the caucus’ fundraising figures said.
The chairman of the DCCC, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, has raised nearly $18 million, including $16.7 million for the DCCC. The No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, has raised $3.7 million, including $924,000 directly for other candidates and $1.85 million for the DCCC. And Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina has raised $2.1 million for the DCCC as part of his $2.9 million overall.