Sen. Josh Hawley raised more than $3 million during the first three months of the year, underscoring how the Missouri Republican converted his high-profile opposition to the certification of the 2020 election into big fundraising support.
The freshman senator drew widespread attention for leading the Jan. 6 effort to block the acceptance of the Electoral College results, a controversial stand that liberals and some Republicans claim undermined faith in the political system. But he won plaudits from loyalists of former President Donald Trump, who opened their wallets.
Hawley received more than 57,000 donations during the first quarter, according to a person familiar with the totals. He managed to raise nearly $600,000 during the 2 1/2 weeks following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, despite temporarily halting his fundraising outreach.
It represents a massive increase for Hawley. By comparison, he raised just $43,000 during the first quarter of the last election cycle, immediately after taking office.
The senator is not up for reelection until 2024, and his totals are unusual for a senator who is not in-cycle. Three other prominent GOP senators — Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tim Scott of South Carolina — each raised less than one-tenth of Hawley’s haul in the first three months of 2019, the comparable time period leading up to their 2022 reelections.
Hawley’s totals illustrate how anti-establishment Republicans are parlaying controversy into small-dollar fundraising success. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the incendiary Georgia Republican who also voted to decertify the election, raked in more than $3.2 million during the first quarter, a massive total for a freshman House member.
Greene’s average contribution was $32; Hawley’s was $52. Hawley didn’t burn through most of the money he raised: He finished the quarter with $3.1 million on hand, up from the $1.4 million he ended last year with.
The cash avalanche could pay long-term dividends for Hawley should he run for president in 2024. Hawley was not previously regarded as a fundraising powerhouse, and by expanding his donor base he has a list of supporters he can hit up for contributions repeatedly in the years to come.
People close to Hawley say his fundraising performance was partly the result of a donor-prospecting effort in which he invested. They declined to disclose how much was spent on the enterprise.
Hawley’s decision to contest the election results cost him the support of some major Missouri-based donors, including business owner David Humphreys, Bush-era ambassador Sam Fox and former Sen. Jack Danforth. But he has maintained the backing of others. Just ahead of the end-of-March fundraising deadline, Hawley held four fundraisers across Missouri that drew around $500,000.