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DSCC, DCCC Show Strong Fundraising

The Congressional campaign committees filed their monthly fundraising reports last week, bringing the end to a third quarter marked by a strong financial showing for both House and Senate Democrats.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ended September with $19 million in the bank, retaining its 2-to-1 cash advantage over its Republican counterpart. The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported $9.4 million in reserve at the end of last month.

So far this cycle the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm has raised $32 million while the NRSC has taken in close to $28.3 million.

The DSCC collected $4.1 million in September, bringing its third- quarter fundraising total to more than $8.7 million. The committee spent $4.9 million in the quarter.

The NRSC, meanwhile, raised $7.3 million in the three-month period and spent $5.8 million.

In September alone, the committee took in $3.3 million and spent $2 million, after spending more than it took in during August.

DSCC officials used the latest fundraising numbers as an excuse to tweak Republicans.

In a memo to Democratic supporters released Friday, DSCC operative Anne Lewis pointed out that vulnerable incumbents such as Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) raised less money than their opponents in the fundraising quarter that ended Sept. 30.

“These fundraising totals matter because they set the tone and provide momentum for the rest of the campaign,” Lewis wrote.

She also took a poke at NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), noting that the Senator’s husband, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), was quoted as saying that the GOP is “in a little trough right now” heading into the 2006 midterms.

On the House side, both Democrats and Republicans are touting the fact that their bank account balances are already well ahead of where they stood at this point in the 2004 cycle.

For the quarter, however, there were several bright spots for House Democrats, although they are the only committee still shouldering debt from the 2004 cycle.

In September, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised its GOP counterpart — the second month it has outpaced the National Republican Congressional Committee in this cycle.

The DCCC also ended up banking more than the NRCC did in the three-month period. The Democrats banked $2.9 million, while the Republicans banked $1.2 million.

The Democrats used their solid financial showing, and the overall political climate, to claim momentum.

“As we head into the end of this year and into 2006, the DCCC is in our strongest position ever thanks to our record-setting fundraising and strong candidates for change,” DCCC Executive Director John Lapp said in a statement Friday. “The country is sick of the Republican pay-to-play culture of corruption and looking for a change.”

Still, Republicans continue to hold a sizable advantage when it comes to available cash. The DCCC ended September with $11.3 million in the bank, while the NRCC showed $17.6 million on hand.

In the third quarter, the DCCC raised about $9 million, more than half of which ($5.4 million) was collected during September.

So far this cycle, the DCCC has raised $33 million, well above the $19.6 million the committee had raised at this point in 2003. DCCC aides also note that it was not until the end of the first quarter of 2004 that the committee reached the level of cash on hand that it now has.

At the end of last month, the committee still showed a remaining balance of $2.56 million in debt, but a spokeswoman for the committee said that an additional $300,000 payment was made toward debt retirement after the close of the reporting period.

The DCCC also made a payment of almost $367,000 toward the debt in September. After that, payroll accounted for the largest chunk of the committee’s expenditures ($350,000) last month.

Meanwhile, the NRCC raised $3.9 million in September and $12.6 million overall for the quarter.

Although the NRCC ended the month with less in the bank than it had at the end of August, GOP strategists note that the $17.7 million in cash on hand reported on Sept. 30 is more than double the amount the committee had in the bank at this point in the previous cycle.

The NRCC spent more than it took in last month, doling out $4.3 million in September, the bulk of which ($2.4 million) went toward telemarketing. The committee also paid $663,000 for postage.

The committee’s only disbursement not related to operating costs for September was a $5,000 direct contribution to GOP PAC, a state political action committee devoted to helping Republican candidates and causes in Oklahoma. The PAC lists an Oklahoma City address, the same address as that of GOP consulting and polling firm Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who is vying to be the next chairman of the NRCC, is a founding partner of the firm.

For the cycle, the committee has raised $52.7 million, and NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti said Republicans are comfortable with their position relative to the DCCC’s.

“As much as Democrats need money to play up their second-rate candidates and cover up their tax-and-spend message, they keep learning the hard way that you just can’t attack and spin your way to a bulging bank account,” Forti said.