Sag­ging Repub­li­can fund-rais­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Eye­brows were raised when the cu­mu­la­tive first-quar­ter fund-rais­ing to­tal ($65.7 mil­lion) for the three lead­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial con­tenders (Hil­lary Clin­ton, $26 mil­lion; Barack Obama, $25.7 mil­lion; John Ed­wards, $14 mil­lion) ex­ceeded by 35 per­cent the cu­mu­la­tive to­tal ($48.8 mil­lion) of the top three Repub­li­cans (Mitt Rom­ney, $21 mil­lion; Rudy Gi­u­liani, $14.8 mil­lion; John McCain, $13 mil­lion). Equally re­mark­able were the first-quar­ter trends by the con­gres­sional com­mit­tees. While the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee ($16 mil­lion) lagged be­hind the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee ($26 mil­lion), it is clear from the early re­ports that Democrats have learned how to ex­ploit their newly gained ma­jori­ties in both cham­bers of Congress.

For the first quar­ter of 2007, the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (DCCC) raised $19 mil­lion — $3 mil­lion more than the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee (NRCC). By way of com­par­i­son, dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2005 the NRCC raised $20 mil­lion, which was 60 per­cent more than the $12.5 mil­lion raised by the DCCC. Dur­ing the en­tire 2003-04 pe­riod, which was the first elec­tion cy­cle when na­tional party com­mit­tees were banned from rais­ing un­lim­ited “soft-money” con­tri­bu­tions from cor­po­ra­tions, la­bor unions and wealthy in­di­vid­u­als, the NRCC raised twice as much ($186 mil­lion) in lim­ited, reg­u­lated “hard-money” do­na­tions as the DCCC re­ceived ($93 mil­lion). For the en­tire 2005-06 cy­cle, the NRCC to­tal marginally de­clined to $180 mil­lion while the DCCC’s to­tal soared by more than 50 per­cent to $140 mil­lion, which was still $40 mil­lion be­low the NRCC to­tal. Hav­ing gained 30 House seats in the 2006 elec­tion and their first ma­jor­ity since the 1992 elec­tion, Democrats are now in a po­si­tion to ex­ploit their 100 per­cent con­trol of all com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships, which will serve as dol­lar mag­nets for the DCCC. There will be no re­peat of the pre-1995 pat­tern when the mi­nor­ity-party NRCC raised $95.3 mil­lion in hard money (1989-1994), while the ma­jor­ity-party DCCC raised only $41.3 mil­lion in hard dol­lars.

The Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (DSCC), de­spite the party’s mi­nor­ity sta­tus in the Se­nate dur­ing the pre­vi­ous two elec­tion cy­cles, still man­aged to out­raise the Na­tional Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­rial Com­mit­tee (NRSC) both times ($89 mil­lion to $79 mil­lion in 2003-04 and $121 mil­lion to $89 mil­lion in 200506). Dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2007, the DSCC raised $14 mil­lion — twice the money col­lected by the NRSC. Repub­li­cans must de­fend 21 of the 33 Se­nate seats in play in 2008. If, as ap­pears likely, the DSCC cleans the NRSC’s clock once again on the fund-rais­ing front, the 2008 Se­nate elec­tions could get very ugly for Repub­li­cans.

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