Campaign Cash Snapshot: 2nd Congressional District

Jul 25, 2018

With six weeks to go until the primary, Congresswoman Annie Kuster’s campaign account is six times the size of the three Republicans who’ve lining up to challenge her — combined.

The latest fundraising reports in the race for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District show Kuster, an incumbent who’s running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, with more than $2.8 million cash on hand. In the last quarter alone, she raised more than $472,000 — about a third of which came from PACs.

Kuster’s largest donors in the past three months were labor-backed PACs: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, the Credit Union National Association and the Unite Here Tip Campaign Committee (which represents workers in the “hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.”) Each gave her campaign $5,000 this quarter, according to FEC records.

Two of those groups — AFSCME and the Credit Union National Association — have given at least $10,000 to Kuster since the start of her re-election campaign.

Kuster has also received a cumulative total of $10,000 from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America), Anthem, Liberty Mutual Insurance company.

When it comes to individual contributions, Kuster’s campaign appears to have leaned more heavily on out-of-staters than Granite Staters. Her itemized campaign receipts show $173,242 from donors outside New Hampshire, compared to $106,894 from those living in-state.

Campaigns aren’t required to itemize contributions below $200, and Kuster’s latest filing reports an additional $40,840 in unitemized donations. But even if all of those were from New Hampshire, it would still be less than the total out-of-state individual donations by about $25,000.

Among the Republicans running in the 2nd Congressional District, Veterans Administration whistleblower Dr. Stewart Levenson seems to be on the surest financial footing at the moment — but that’s thanks in large part to his own contributions. Levenson gave $100,000 of his own money to his campaign this quarter, about four times as much as he raised from other donors during the same time period.

State Rep. Steve Negron also dipped into his own pocket for the bulk of his campaign money this quarter, loaning his campaign $100,000. In the records for these and other loans, Negron’s address is listed as “P.O. Box 26141” in Alexandria, Va. — not his home in New Hampshire.

Those same filings show that Negron received a $1,000 loan from a company called Election CFO LLC, which also lists the same “P.O. Box 26141” as its address. According to the company’s website, Election CFO offers “fully-outsourced treasurer services” and other compliance assistance to “campaigns, non-profits, and political action committees of all types.” (The same address has apparently been used by a number of other campaigns in recent years, so much so that it was the subject of conspiracy theories and a CNN report during the 2016 election.)

The last candidate to enter the race, former State Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker, trails the field in terms of cash on hand. But this quarter, she raised more money from individual donors than either of her Republican opponents: She reported $24,050 in this class of contributions, while Levenson reported $23,249 and Negron reported $16,114.

Like Democrat Maura Sullivan in the state's 1st Congressional District race, Blankenbeker has also benefited from an influx of cash tied to her military record. Her largest source of campaign money this quarter was a PAC called the War Veterans Fund, which gave her about $21,744. Blankenbeker is one of at least five Republican Congressional candidates with military experience the PAC is supporting this cycle.

With Honor — a “cross-partisan” PAC that’s endorsed Blankenbeker, Sullivan and Republican 1st District candidate Eddie Edwards — also gave Blankenbeker $1,000 this quarter.