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GOP Outraises Democrats in First Month of Year

The three Republican campaign committees far outdistanced their Democratic counterparts in fundraising in January, new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

Although the reports provide only a small window into the two-year-long battle for campaign cash that is just beginning, they are the first indicator of how the committees will function in an all-hard-money world.

Legislation passed in the 107th Congress banned the organizations from raising and spending soft money, which had become a key currency for all six committees over the past several election cycles.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee brought in $1.2 million in January and spent $1.4 million. It carried $577,000 on hand with $608,000 in debt left from the 2002 cycle.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought in a respectable $699,000 in the first month of the 2004 election cycle and disbursed $698,000. The DSCC still carries a whopping $6 million debt, a figure that dwarfs the $39,000 it has in the bank.

On the House side, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised four times more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the reporting period.

The NRCC brought in $6.9 million to the DCCC’s $1.7 million. Both committees retained large debts; the NRCC carried $7 million in arrears, while the DCCC had a $6 million balance remaining.

The NRCC continued the free-spending ways it exhibited in the 2002 cycle, outlaying $5.3 million from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31. The DCCC was significantly more frugal, spending $877,000.

The Republican National Committee also outperformed its Democratic rival, raising $11 million in the month with the same amount left on hand. The Democratic National Committee showed $2.2 million in receipts with $2.4 million in their coffers.

At the DNC winter meeting last week, Chairman Terry McAuliffe said the organization was making strides to widen its donor base in an effort to harvest more hard money. As evidence, he unveiled a 158 million-name database that will serve as a fundraising and targeting tool in the 2004 election.

McAuliffe, however, was realistic about the funding race.

“I am not sure we will ever be competitive with Republicans on money,” he said.

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