Not surprisingly, new financial reports show incumbents have a lot more money than their challengers heading into 2020. The latest campaign finance numbers, which capture fundraising through the end of 2019, show Democrat Conor Lamb leading the Western Pennsylvania field with nearly $1 million on hand at the year's end. His most notable Republican challenger, veteran and author Sean Parnell, reported finishing out the year with $219,267 on hand.
Lamb had a big head start: Parnell’s campaign didn’t begin until late October, but though it had a boost from President Donald Trump and an appearance on Fox News. Lamb still outraised him by a two-to-one margin in the final reporting period of 2019. Lamb drew support from labor groups like the steelworkers and mineworkers, as well as from other Democratic politicians. Parnell received donations from committees tied to former area Republican Congressmen Keith Rothfus and Tim Murphy, as well as other conservative groups.
Two other Republicans have mounted bids to challenge Lamb this coming fall, but their fundraising lagged both Parnell and the incumbent. Scott Timko raised $40,724 and ended the year with $22,688. Brian Thomsen raised $27,105 and ended with $3,736.
Republican Mike Kelly, who represents the 16th District north of Pittsburgh, is a close second to Lamb in overall fundraising. He raised $230,671 in the last quarter of 2019 and ended the year with $884,185. That puts him well ahead of his highest-profile Democratic challenger, public school teacher Kristy Gnibus of Erie. Gnibus raised $41,184 and ended the year with just $14,688 in the bank.
Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who represents the 14th Congressional district, raised $254,225 and ended the year with $197,009 in the bank. For now, no Democrats have reported raising money to take on Reschenthaler: Challenger Bill Marx announced his candidacy at the end of January -- well after the reporting deadline.
In Pittsburgh, Democrat Mike Doyle raised $116,951 and ended the year with $513,497. His Democratic challenger Gerry Dickinson raised $44,755.80 in the final three months of 2019. That roughly doubled his performance in the previous quarter, but Dickinson trails the incumbent badly: He ended the year with $89,708 on hand.