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Cash Gap Narrows for NRCC

House Republicans pulled closer to even with their Democratic counterparts in the hunt for campaign cash in October, but they continue to lag far behind in available cash on hand.

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised almost $3.6 million last month, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recorded close to $4.1 million in receipts.

The NRCC’s total was bolstered by Member giving during the month, as the GOP’s Member dues campaign began to kick into high gear.

In October, 56 Republican Members contributed a total of $874,000 to the NRCC. The number of Members giving and the total amount were both up from September, when 43 Members gave some $700,000 from their personal campaign accounts and political action committees.

The increased giving came prior to NRCC Chairman Tom Cole’s (Okla.) early-November plea to GOP Members to fulfill their financial obligations to the committee or face life in the minority for years to come.

“The more Members continue to participate and invest in the NRCC, the more successful our efforts will be,” NRCC spokeswoman Julie Shutley said. “There is no doubt that Member participation is instrumental to rebuilding a Republican majority.”

October was the first month since April that the DCCC did not outraise the NRCC by $1 million or more. Also last month, the NRCC banked slightly more than the DCCC did.

Still, House Democrats maintained a whopping $26.6 million cash advantage over Republicans almost one year out from the 2008 elections.

So far this cycle, the DCCC has raised a total of $56.7 million and the NRCC has raised $40.7 million.

But as of Oct. 31, the DCCC showed $29.2 million in the bank compared with the NRCC’s $2.6 million. Republicans began the cycle with a debt in excess of $15 million and have worked to pay that amount down to $3.6 million through the end of last month. Party leaders have said that without incurring the debt Republicans likely would have lost even more House seats than they did in the 2006 elections.

Democrats also continued to benefit from the generosity of their Members in October, collecting more than $1 million from at least 26 Members. Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (Miss.) gave the largest sum last month, cutting a check for $150,000 from his campaign account. So far this cycle, Thompson has donated a total of $250,000 to the DCCC, ranking him among the top contributors to the committee along with Democratic leaders.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) cut a $100,000 check to the DCCC last month, bringing her total donation for the cycle to $685,000 from her personal campaign fund.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, was the only other Democrat to donate $100,000 to the DCCC last month.

Like Democrats, Republican leaders also are among the largest donors to the NRCC. Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) has given at least $340,000, Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) has given at least $110,000 and GOP Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) has donated at least $285,000.

Several other rank-and-file Republicans also have reached the $100,000 mark already in giving to the NRCC. Among them are Reps. John Carter (Texas), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Mike Pence (Ind.), Howard Coble (N.C.) and Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.).

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Republicans also inched closer to their Democratic counterparts in their fundraising total for October.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.1 million last month, compared with the $2.9 million raised by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Although the NRSC banked more than the DSCC for the month, Democrats still had a healthy cash-on-hand advantage. The DSCC showed $23.4 million in the bank on Oct. 31 while the NRSC had $9.5 million.

The NRSC has no debt left over from the 2006 cycle, while the DSCC still had $2.5 million remaining on Oct. 31.

As of the end of October, the DSCC had raised $42 million for the cycle and the NRSC had raised $26.3 million.

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