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GOP Exceeds Goal for President’s Dinner

Despite dire predictions of huge losses in the November elections, Congressional Republicans have exceeded their fundraising goals for tonight’s president’s dinner, their largest annual fundraiser.

The event held at the Washington Convention Center is jointly sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was the Senate dinner chairman.

The NRSC has raised $13.5 million for the dinner, which exceeded its $12 million fundraising goal by $1.5 million.

According to GOP sources, the NRCC raised $8 million, $1 million more than their $7 million goal; GOP sources pointed out that House Republicans raised $8.6 million at a dinner with President Bush earlier this year.

NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) said the fundraising numbers reflect the growing concern with the Democratic Congressional majority.

“I am very proud of the hard work that has been put in to this dinner to make it such a success — and I believe voters will continue to react to this overreaching liberal Congress by donating money to help us stop it,” Ensign said.

In 2007, the NRSC raised $7.5 million for the annual dinner; in 2006, the Senate GOP campaign arm raked in $12 million. But that year, the Republicans still held the Senate majority.

This year’s take reflects the natural bump in fundraising numbers that come with a presidential election year. In 2004, the NRSC raised $7 million for the dinner.

“When we started this, it was clear Republicans were facing an uphill fight this November. However, times have changed,” Hatch said. “The $13.5 million we raised for the dinner shows people understand that Democrats are going to do more than just increase the price of gas.”

Hatch added: “Republican Senators, and especially John Ensign, should be congratulated for reaching out to donors and raising this money that will have a big impact this November.”

Fundraising for both parties typically increases significantly in a presidential election year. But presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not intend to appear at the dinner, citing scheduling conflicts.

President Bush will instead headline the event.

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