Cam­paign money bags

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Democrats had built up so much mo­men­tum near the end of the 2006 con­gres­sional cam­paign that not even a last-minute in­fu­sion of $12 mil­lion in leftover cash from Pres­i­dent Bush’s 2004 cof­fers could stem the Demo­cratic tide.

In the 40-day pe­riod from Oct. 19 through Nov. 27, ac­cord­ing to re­cent fil­ings with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee (RNC) raised more than $30 mil­lion, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent’s $12 mil­lion trans­fer and a $2 mil­lion loan. In the wan­ing days of the midterms, the RNC un­leashed a tor­rent of spend­ing. Ap­proach­ing $45 mil­lion, the RNC splurge in­cluded four checks to­tal­ing $8 mil­lion to the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee and three checks to­tal­ing $3.45 mil­lion to the Na­tional Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­rial Com­mit­tee. Spend­ing com­mit­ments to­tal­ing an­other $9 mil­lion, which have been ex­cluded from the ac­count­ing so far, could bring the cost of the RNC’s fu­tile on­slaught to $55 mil­lion, a party spokes­woman told the New York Times. By con­trast, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee (DNC) raised and spent only $10.7 mil- lion dur­ing the same 40-day pe­riod. It is, how­ever, fair to say that the DNC will en­counter lit­tle dif­fi­culty in rais­ing more than enough funds to erase its wisely in­curred $4 mil­lion debt by year’s end.

The fund-rais­ing suc­cess of the Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee ex­plains why the DNC did not have to raise so much money in the last stages of the cam­paign. The $119 mil­lion raised by the DSCC for the 2005-06 cy­cle was 35 per­cent more than the $88.3 mil­lion col­lected by its GOP coun­ter­part, the NRSC. Through Nov. 27, the DSCC spent 122 per­cent more ($42.6 mil­lion vs. $19.2 mil­lion) than the NRSC spent for inde- pen­dent ex­pen­di­tures. Given the mi­nus­cule vic­tory mar­gins achieved in three Se­nate races lost by Repub­li­can in­cum­bents (Vir­ginia, Mon­tana and Mis­souri), it is fair to say that the DSCC was wise in run­ning up debts of $5.4 mil­lion (as of Nov. 27), which was nearly 20 times its cash on hand of less than $300,000. On the other hand, the NRSC al­most cer­tainly played too cau­tiously in end­ing the pe­riod with less than $200,000 in debts and nearly $600,000 in cash.

Cap­tur­ing 30 House seats (in large part by oust­ing 22 Repub­li­can in­cum­bents) and win­ning con­trol of the up­per cham­ber (by de­feat­ing six GOP sen­a­tors), the Demo­cratic ma­chine roared through the RNC fi­nan­cial on­slaught like a ra­zor-edged knife slic­ing through hot but­ter. Repub­li­cans failed to dis­lodge a sin­gle Demo­cratic in­cum­bent in ei­ther the House or the Se­nate; and Repub­li­cans failed to gain a sin­gle open seat in ei­ther cham­ber that was va­cated by a re­tir­ing Demo­crat.

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