Democrat Doug Jones raised about twice as much money for his winning U.S. Senate campaign as his Republican opponent collected, with the vast majority of the money flowing through an organization that helps Democratic candidates with fundraising.
Jones’ final report to the Federal Election Commission showed contributions totaling $11.71 million during 2017. Roy Moore, the Republican candidate and former Alabama chief justice, raised $5,152,464.
The vast majority of the money collected by Jones – $9.57 million – was funneled into his campaign through ActBlue.
ActBlue allows contributors to use the internet to make campaign donations that are earmarked for individual candidates. Once a donation is made, ActBlue passes it along to the intended candidate. Each of the contributions made through ActBlue is reported to the FEC with the name of the donor, just as money given directly to the campaign is reported.
ActBlue accounted for 20,995 contributions for the Jones campaign. FEC reports list contributions to the Jones campaign via ActBlue ranging from $1 to $2,700. For instance, there were 156 donations of $1 each and 273 contributions of $2,700 each.
Chris Fleming, a spokesman for ActBlue, said the group assisted with the fundraising efforts of all Democrats who ran for the Senate in 2016. He said ActBlue provides candidates with tools to use the internet and email to solicit contributions, which are made via credit cards, PayPal and other electronic transfers.
ActBlue, which said it has funneled $1.95 billion to Democratic and progressive candidates since 2004, does not charge candidates, but makes its money from “tips.” Fleming said each contribution form has a place where donors can make tips to the group.
Moore did not have such an organization involved in his fundraising efforts.
The Big Bucks
The largest contributors to the Jones campaign were the Communications Workers of America PAC in Washington, D.C., which gave $10,000, and two Senate leadership PACs. Keystone America PAC, formed by Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, gave $7,500; Victory Now, the PAC of Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, gave $7,000.
The largest contributions to Moore’s campaign came directly from individuals. They were William Carr of Enterprise, $12,950; Lawrence Gelman of McAllen, Texas, $9,100; and Lee Roy Mitchell of Dallas, Texas, $8,400.