When Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a bill this month to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks, Democratic fundraisers expected it to dominate news outlets like MSNBC, bringing small-dollar donations for candidates.

But they did not anticipate that cable news networks, overtaken by the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, would relegate politics to an afterthought for more than a week.

Suddenly, the traditional September influx of campaign cash slipped, which Democrats attributed in significant part to the round-the-clock coverage of the 10-day period of mourning for the queen that culminated in her funeral Monday.

Democrats said that they relied on grassroots donations — those under $250 — to compete with spending by Republican-aligned super PACs on television ads, particularly in battleground states.

Nat Binns, a principal for MissionWired, a digital fundraising company that supports Democrats, said Friday that he had never experienced such a vacuum of political news stories at this stage of a campaign.

The clients of MissionWired include at least three Senate Democrats facing tough reelection campaigns that could determine whether the party maintains control of the Senate: Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. The company is also working for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association and Rep. Val Demings, who is challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida.


During the 2018 midterm elections, the company had a monthly fundraising bump of 133% in September, Binns said. This year, he noted, the increase is projected to be half as much.

In the nine days after the queen’s death, the digital fundraising totals for Demings slipped about 60% compared with the last nine days of August, said Christian Slater, a campaign spokesperson.

Laura Carlson, digital director for the Democratic Governors Association, said Friday that the group’s fundraising fell from the first to the second week of September, which was a departure from past totals.

It was not clear whether the scaled-back political coverage also took a financial toll on Republican fundraising committees. Campaign finance reports for the period that includes the queen’s death are not yet available. Those supporting Republicans for the Senate and the House did not respond to requests for comment Friday.