Both of the Republicans’ Congressional party committees far outdistanced their Democratic rivals in fundraising last month as they brace for an all-out spending spree over the campaign’s final 71 days.
The National Republican Congressional Committee outraised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at nearly a 5-to-1 rate in July, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee more than doubled the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s take.
As usual, the NRCC led all four committees in funds raised, bringing in $10 million in July and boosting its total raised for the cycle to $125 million.
By contrast, the DCCC raised $2.4 million last month; in the cycle to date it has raked in $58.4 million.
The NRCC also continued to outspend the DCCC, disbursing $6 million in the period to the Democrats’ $3.2 million. The DCCC actually spent $800,000 more than it raised in the period.
Those expenditures leave the NRCC with $24.2 million on hand to the DCCC’s $17.6 million.
“This month shows what we’ve maintained for a long time. We will go into the fall with a significant financial advantage,” said NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti. “Any time you spend more than you raise five months out from Election Day, that is not a good sign.”
DCCC Communications Director Kori Bernards responded that her organization made a number of investments in “direct marketing … that will mean large returns for the balance of the cycle.”
“We continue to keep pace with the NRCC in our cash on hand,” she added.
The vast majority of the NRCC’s haul came from the July 21 President’s Dinner, which grossed roughly $15 million for the committee.
Forti explained that a number of contributions for that event were received during June and many more will appear on the August fundraising report.
Both committees have also begun to make significant independent expenditures as they prepare for the final two months of the campaign.
On Aug. 13 alone, the NRCC spent $140,000 for polling in eight competitive districts: Colorado’s 3rd, Connecticut’s 2nd, New York’s 27th, Texas’ 17th and 2nd, Kansas’ 3rd, Georgia’s 12th and Virginia’s 9th.
Last Friday the committee dropped $12,900 on media production costs for expected independent expenditure ads on behalf of cardiologist Charles Boustany (R), who is running for the open seat in Louisiana’s 7th district.
The DCCC has largely limited its independent expenditures to direct mail on behalf of Rep. Nick Lampson (Texas), Jefferson County (Ky.) Circuit Clerk Tony Miller, and Athens-Clark County (Ga.) Commissioner John Barrow in recent days.
In the wake of the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, national party committees are banned from raising and spending soft money, which could be collected in unlimited amounts.
At this point in the 2002 cycle, the NRCC had raised roughly $59 million in hard dollars. The DCCC had brought in just $25 million in hard money.
On the Senate side, the NRSC brought in $4.6 million last month compared to $2.1 million for the DSCC.
The margin was similar on the cash-on-hand front. The NRSC showed $21.1 million to the DSCC’s $11.6 million.
“We are proud and appreciative as well as very encouraged by the level of support we have received throughout the cycle,” said NRSC Executive Director Jay Timmons.
Both Senate committees have begun to spend heavily on independent expenditure ad campaigns.
The NRSC has already bought more than $9 million worth of ads in Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota.
Meanwhile, the DSCC is already on the air in both Alaska and South Carolina.
Cara Morris, a spokeswoman for the DSCC, noted that a recent $3 million transfer from the presidential campaign of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will be reflected in the August report.
“July was just the first month of what has already been proven to be a successful fundraising quarter,” Morris said.