Early Financial Reports Suggest Saccone Has Small Edge In GOP Primary

Apr 13, 2018

Republican Rick Saccone drew upon national Republican support during his special election campaign against Democrat Conor Lamb last month. He lost that race anyway, and federal campaign-finance reports show he may not be able to count on that edge when facing a new Republican challenger, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, in the May 15 primary.

The reports, the first filed since the March 13 special election and the first to give a head-to-head match up between the Republican contenders, show Saccone with $225,014.30 on hand. Reschenthaler had $75,997.90, though both campaigns have some debts to pay.

But Saccone’s edge comes as little surprise. The reports cover a period that began in late February, when he was running as the Republican nominee in a race that attracted national attention.  During that time, he raised nearly $929,000, much of which came from out of state, and spent more than $1 million. 

Reschenthaler’s fundraising, meanwhile, didn't get underway until a few days before the reporting period ended. And while his totals were boosted by contributions from members of ColdSpark Media, a campaign consultant that is working on his bid, several prominent Republicans are also backing him.

A political committee tied to Senator Pat Toomey was among Reschenthaler’s biggest supporters, backing him with a $5,000 contribution. (The committee had backed Saccone's special election bid last year.) Charlie Dent, a moderate Congressman from eastern Pennsylvania who is retiring this year, gave $1,000. Republican gubernatorial candidate Laura Ellsworth gave $2,700, as did a former chair of the state Republican Party, Rob Gleason.

Another Reschenthaler supporter is state Senator Kim Ward, who competed with Mr. Reschenthaler to be the nominee in the special election. When she was eliminated from contention in a nominating conference, her supporters largely backed Mr. Saccone.