DCCC Extends Cash Advantage to $16 Million

Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:51pm

The Democratic campaign committees raised more than their GOP counterparts during March, as the health care debate roiled Capitol Hill and helped to drive fundraising for both parties.

House Democrats continue to have the widest cash-on-hand advantage.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ended March with $26 million in cash on hand compared with the $10 million that the National Republican Congressional Committee had in the bank. During March, the DCCC raised $9.8 million and spent $3.6 million, while the NRCC raised $8 million and spent about $4 million.

The DCCC also paid off its remaining debt from the 2008 cycle in March, and now both House campaign committees are debt-free.

“These numbers reflect that our grass-roots supporters and individual contributors are energized by the passage of health insurance reform,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said Tuesday afternoon.

But House Republicans also touted their fundraising success in March, which Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), the NRCC’s finance vice chairman, said marked the most successful fundraising month since being in the minority.

Despite the disparity with the DCCC, the NRCC’s cash-on-hand figure is still a drastic improvement over the committee’s recent cash position. At the end of February, the GOP committee had a little more than $6 million on hand.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) attributed his committee’s success to an energized party base coming off the health care vote, as well as an environment that continues to tip in the GOP’s favor. In a measure of his confidence, Sessions said Tuesday that he wouldn’t consider his chairmanship a success unless Republicans picked up 40 seats and took back the House this fall.

If Sessions was bothered by being outraised by the DCCC in March, he didn’t show it.

“We don’t need to outraise the DCCC, but we need to be competitive and within parity,” he said.

NRCC operatives on Tuesday also sniped at the DCCC’s March haul by noting that it was the committee’s lowest since taking over the House in the 2006 elections.

That’s true, but not by much.

The DCCC raised $10.2 million in March 2009 and $10.1 million in March 2008.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $6 million in March, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee took in just over $5.1 million.

The DSCC ended March with more than $17 million in the bank, while the NRSC had about $15 million in its coffers.

Neither committee is carrying any debt from the 2008 cycle.

Both Senate committees tried to put their fundraising numbers in historical context on Tuesday.

Senate Democrats argued they are ahead of their fundraising pace in the first quarter of 2006, the last midterm election year.

“As the election gets closer, enthusiasm for Democrats is growing and our strong fundraising numbers are evidence of that,” DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch said in a statement. “Republicans continue to side with the special interests over doing what is right for the American people, and that is a losing strategy.”

NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer said the NRSC’s fundraising this cycle is ahead of where it was at this point in 2008 because donor enthusiasm is being fueled by the Democratic agenda in Washington.

“Thanks to the Democrats’ decision to ram their reckless tax-and-spend agenda through Congress, we have successfully added more than 240,000 first-time supporters to the NRSC donor rolls and increased our fundraising by nearly 25 percent more than last cycle,” Jesmer said.

But regardless of which cycle they choose to compare, the fact remains that both Senate committees have less cash on hand this cycle than they did at this point in 2006 and 2008.

The NRSC had $17.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter in the 2008 cycle, when the national environment was much less favorable for Republicans.

While Republicans are $2.3 million off their 2008 pace, the Democratic committee is down nearly $21 million from where it was last cycle. The DSCC had $37.8 million in the bank at this point in 2008.

At this point in the 2006 cycle, the NRSC had $16.5 million on hand while the DSCC had $32 million in the bank.