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Doyle holds onto campaign cash advantage, but numbers are modest

Dickinson campaign/AP
Jerry Dickinson (left) and Mike Doyle (right) are raising cash for a potential rematch in next year's Democratic primary.

Incumbent Congressman Mike Doyle maintains a campaign cash advantage over his 18th District Democratic rival Jerry Dickinson. But Dickinson outraised Doyle for the second quarter running, and in any case, Doyle’s totals remain modest ahead of a year in which he may have to undergo the toughest test of his career — assuming he decides to run for re-election at all.

In third-quarter reports released today by the Federal Elections Commission, Doyle reported raising $85,030 from contributors. That more than doubles his fundraising for the year, though it is less than overwhelming for a 14-term incumbent. (In a Congressional district next door, for example, Republican incumbent Mike Kelly reported bringing in more than $106,000 during that time.)

The vast majority of Doyle’s support — $78,500 — came from political committees, notably from the telecom sector. Doyle serves on a communications and technology subcommittee, and some of his largest donors include Comcast, AT&T, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and America’s Communications Association, a Pittsburgh-based trade group that includes cable phone and fiber operators.

Doyle finishes the quarter with $300,291.18 on hand, after spending slightly more than $40,000 on expenses during the past three months.

University of Pittsburgh law professor Dickenson, meanwhile, reports raising $121,383.68 in the same period of July to September. That’s nearly a third more than Doyle raised during that time.

But Doyle began the year with a sizable cash advantage, and with expenditures of $66,464.24 listed in his most recent report, Dickinson outspent Doyle in the latter part of summer as well.

Dickinson’s campaign finished out last month with $158,008.21 on hand — just over half of Doyle’s total. He drew support from individuals all across the country, much of which came through ActBlue, a Democratic-aligned online fundraising tool.

Doyle has never been a prolific fundraiser, and arguably he has never had to be: He beat Dickinson in the 2020 primary by a two-to-one margin. But his low activity earlier this year already has raised speculation about how much enthusiasm he has for a fight in a district that is becoming increasingly progressive.

Doyle has not formally announced a re-election bid. Political insiders expect him to make an announcement about his political future on Monday.

*This story was updated at 5:42 p.m. on Friday, October 15, 2021 to include information about Doyle's political intentions.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.