First Campaign Filings Of 2020 Show Incumbents With Vast Fundraising Lead

Apr 16, 2020

Western Pennsylvania's three incubment Congressional representatives have easily out-fundraised their rivals this year, according to new campaign finance reports.

In what’s likely to be the most competitive race this fall, Democrat Conor Lamb added $342,249 to his war chest, and closed the quarter with more than any incumbent in the region: $1,057,927. His Republican opponent, veteran and Fox and Friends contributor Sean Parnell raised $195,382, adding to a total of $319,562 in cash on hand.

New documents that Parnell filed during the reporting period also provide additional context for the first-time candidate’s personal finances. Parnell is widely known as an author and decorated veteran, but a personal financial disclosure form also lists him as an independent consultant for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, where he made upwards of $325,000 in 2019. He earned more than $50,000 in book royalties and $40,000 on a book advance. Parnell also earned $30,000 in 2019 in appearance fees from Hart Energy at an oil and gas conference.

Parnell entered the 17th Congressional race last fall, after President Donald Trump announced his campaign on a visit to Pittsburgh. The district includes Allegheny County suburbs and Beaver County. He moved into the district from just outside its boundaries at the end of 2019, citing a rent increase at his home in Cranberry.

In Pittsburgh’s 18th Congressional district, Democrat Mike Doyle raised $110,630 in the first three months of 2020, and ended the quarter with $391,287. His primary challenger Jerry Dickinson, who pledged to not take any money from corporate political action committees, raised just about half that, with $49,739. Dickinson ended the quarter with $44,255 (followed by a Twitter endorsement from actress Susan Sarandon). 

In the 16th Congressional District north of Pittsburgh, Republican incumbent Mike Kelly raised $197,592, and ended the period with $992,566 in cash on hand. His Democratic challenger this fall, teacher Kristy Gnibus, raised $64,860 and has $20,651 in cash now.

Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who represents the southwestern Pennsylvania counties that make up the 14th District, raised $206,973 and ended the period with $267,305 in his war chest. Reschenthaler faces no challenger in the primary, and no filing was available Thursday for the Democrat who filed to run against him this fall, Bill Marx.