According to FEC financial disclosures, a whopping 209 Democratic Congressional challengers had raised at least $5,000 by the end of June.
Here's why that matters. In 2009, Republicans had just 78 challengers who had raised at least $5,000. The next year the GOP swamped Democrats in the House and won 63 seats in Congress, taking control of that chamber.
Michael Mablin writes for the Brookings Institution that the astonishing number of Democrats raising big money this early should be cause for concern.
The number of challengers at six months is truly remarkable. And the candidates are not simply bunching up in a few primaries. Yes, there is some doubling up: six Democrats have filed so far against John Faso in New York’s 19th congressional district. But there is also a good spread. So far, 105 different Republican incumbents have Democratic challengers with $5,000. At this same time in 2009, only 50 of the Democratic incumbents were up against challengers with $5,000.
So the Democrats are putting themselves in a strong position to take advantage of a national tide in their direction if there is one. This is important. No matter how strong a tide may be nationally, congressional elections are decided in districts. The party riding a wave cannot win in a district unless it puts up a credible candidate. You cannot beat somebody with nobody. Finding a credible candidate has to come first.
However, putting up big fundraising numbers early in an election cycle does not always translate to winning. But, if many of these candidates can turn that fundraising into a credible campaign, it could spell big trouble for the GOP in the 2018 midterms.