In an effort to show his campaign fundraising prowess, Jake Corman, the top elected Republican in the Senate and a candidate seeking his party's nomination for governor, is sending an email to current and potential contributors today saying he has “close to $3 million on hand” -- a eyecatching sum given he officially entered the race just six weeks ago.
Reports detailing the fundraising of Corman and other candidates are expected to be made public by the Department of State by Jan. 31. Fourteen other Republican candidates are running in the May primary. The full picture will be clearer in the next round of reports.
“My team and I worked hard to get in and compete with candidates who have been running all year,” Corman said in the email obtained by The Caucus and LNP Media Group. “While some candidates have loaned their campaign money by writing checks to themselves, we have shown a broad-based fundraising effort and are already on the way to replicating this success in the new year. That’s why I am confident we will lead the field in money raised and cash on hand.”
Giving a preview of his fundraising is intended to convince donors Corman is the best GOP candidate to “go toe-to-toe” with Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the email says.
It is a common maneuver for campaigns flush with cash to boast about their donations before a filing deadline. Shapiro’s campaign told the Associated Press in October he had $10 million on hand with $9 million of it raised this year. Shapiro is the presumed Democratic nominee and so far is unchallenged in his party's primary.
Corman, the Senate president pro tempore and former majority leader, has a proven track record as a prodigious fundraiser. As a senator, Corman raised $16.5 million from 2000 through November of last year, state records show. Nearly $8 million of that went to his Senate campaign, and $8.6 million went to his leadership PAC, Build PA.
Corman also uses the fundraising pitch to highlight his actions as a legislative leader in blocking Democratic governors’ proposed tax increases, and curbing what he characterized as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s “executive overreach” during the pandemic.
“I’m the one who just defeated Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro in court once again to allow our investigation of the 2020 election to move forward,” Corman said in the email, referring to the “forensic investigation” he launched in lieu of the audit sought by former President Trump and his supporters. The review, however, is not intended to change results of the presidential election, which Trump falsely claims was “stolen,” but to offer solutions to improving the state's election laws.
When Corman announced his campaign in mid-November, he said he was both running for governor and re-election to the Senate seat he won 22 years ago. Recently, however, he dropped the Senate bid to focus on the gubernatorial race. So some portion of the nearly $3 million in his campaign account was raised for the Senate race and transferred to his gubernatorial coffers, a common practice among candidates. Corman’s campaign would not comment on how much money was transferred.
Lancaster County's Scott Martin, one of Corman's Senate colleagues, is also seeking the GOP nomination and reported having $40,000 in his campaign account as of late November. He didn't announce his candidacy until December.
Mike Wereschagin of The Caucus contributed reporting for this story.