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Election Fundraising Sets Records in First Half of 2011

Members and candidates vying for Congress in 2012 raised funds at a record-setting pace for a nonelection year, collecting more than $285 million during the first six months of 2011, according to a Federal Election Commission analysis released Wednesday.

The previous fundraising record for the first six months of a nonelection year was set in 2009. Campaigns for the House and Senate raised more than $254 million at the time, a difference of 12 percent.

House candidates raised $182.1 million from Jan. 1 to June 30, a boost of more than 11 percent when compared with the same period in 2009. The 2011 amount beats the previous record for the first half of a nonelection year, which was set in 2007 at $167 million.

The biggest chunk of the 2011 money raised among House campaigns went to Republicans, who brought in $113 million versus Democrats’ $69.1 million. Incumbents took in the bulk of the funds, and many new Members were able to build on the enthusiasm that led to their elections in 2010. Freshmen raised $37.2 million, an increase of more than 34 percent when compared with two years ago. The 84 Republican freshmen raised $35 million of this sum, while the nine Democrats raised $2.2 million.

Although the GOP dominated in fundraising for the House races, Democrats had the edge among 2012 Senate campaigns, raising almost $53 million compared with more than $48.3 million for Republicans. Independents raised close to $1.8 million.

Overall, incumbents and candidates competing in the 33 Senate races reported raising just more than $103 million during the first six months of 2011, surpassing the previous high for the first half of a nonelection year by more than 10 percent. That record was set in 2009 with $93.2 million.

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