Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Jeff Bartos announced Thursday that he raised $2.3 million between his campaign and a supportive super PAC in the third quarter, outpacing Trump-endorsed opponent Sean Parnell in the Republican primary for retiring Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat.
The PAC raised $1.65 million in the third quarter while the Bartos campaign itself pulled in $650,000. Both entities have $2.25 million cash on hand, according to the Bartos campaign. That is is significantly higher than the approximately $1 million war chest the Parnell campaign says it has, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Jeff Bartos has proven himself to be the only candidate capable of building a coalition, carrying a message, and putting together the resources necessary to win this race,” Bartos campaign manager Conor McGuinness said in a statement.
“Pennsylvania is the single most important state on Republicans’ path to take back the Senate majority,” McGuiness added. “Jeff is the only candidate in the race who will not squander that opportunity.”
But in the Trumpified GOP it’s possible that the most valuable political currency is not the dollar but the endorsement of the former president – something that Parnell has even if his fundraising is not as explosive as Bartos’ out of the gate.
“.@SeanParnellUSA is a genuine war hero, an America First patriot & the only candidate in PA who can defeat the Dems next Nov,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted last week when Parnell’s fundraising numbers were announced. “That’s why my father and I are all in on supporting him!!!”
Bartos and Parnell are the most high-profile candidates in a GOP primary field that includes well over a dozen candidates, including Kathy Barnette, the former Republican nominee in 2020 challenging Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.
There is also a pileup of candidates in the Democratic primary, including Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and at least three current state and local officeholders.
The Pennsylvania Senate race will be key to control of the U.S. Senate in 2022. Republicans only have to net one seat to gain a majority in the chamber but are forced to defend several more seats than Democrats.
If the GOP manages to hold Pennsylvania – which voted for President Biden in 2020 – then it could help tip the scales in its favor if it can beat vulnerable Democrats elsewhere, like Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.