For much of 2020, Al Gross’s Senate campaign in Alaska has proceeded as something of an afterthought for most Democrats, a distant contest that was off the radar in terms of determining control of the U.S. Senate. After all, Mr. Gross is not even technically running as a Democrat, an affiliation that might doom him in a conservative state.
But in the hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday, Dr. Gross’s campaign as an independent saw an infusion of attention and cash that could reshape the race: Nearly $3 million has poured into his coffers — about as much total money as the campaign had in the bank at the end of July.
“Within 15 minutes of the sad news, you saw truly organic movement,” said David Keith, who is managing Dr. Gross’s bid to oust Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican.
From Alaska to Maine to North and South Carolina, Democratic strategists working on Senate campaigns described a spontaneous outpouring of donations the likes of which they had never seen, allowing Democrats the financial freedom to broaden the map of pickup opportunities, or press their financial advantage in top battlegrounds already saturated with advertising.
By Monday, Democratic contributors had given more than $160 million online through ActBlue, the leading site for processing digital donations. ActBlue broke one record after another — its biggest hour in 16 years, its busiest day, its busiest weekend — after Justice Ginsburg’s death, with an estimated tens of millions of dollars going toward efforts to retake the Senate, where the acrimonious confirmation fight to replace Justice Ginsburg will occur. [Continue reading…]