Dem Committees Have 75% More in Bank than GOP

If the Republicans think they have a shot at retaking either the House or the Senate in 2010, their current bank accounts strongly disagree.

According to Hotline on Call, the Republican National Committee under Michael Steele has been hemorrhaging money -- from $22.8 million in the bank at the beginning of the year to just $8.75 million on hand as of the end of November, the point through which the present reports are current. The Democratic National Committee holds a similar $8.3 million in the bank after debt.

But while the RNC has still been able to hold on to a small edge over its Democratic counterpart (albeit a rapidly narrowing one), the GOP's congressional campaign committees have not been so lucky. (For more on this, check out desmoinesdem's post from yesterday.)

In the race for the House in 2010, which the Republicans are thought to have a relatively better shot at, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee holds a $13 million to $2 million cash-on-hand advantage. On the Senate side, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee $10.2 million to $7.3 million in available money.

All told, the Democratic campaign committees have a net $31.5 million in the bank, as compared with the $18.05 million held by the GOP committees -- a 75% advantage for the Democrats. Yet unclear is an explanation of how this deficit is supposed to augur well for Republican hopes of reclaiming one or both chambers of Congress in 2010.

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House Republicans Forced to Play Defense

I'm trying to figure out how the Republicans are supposed to have a legitimate shot at retaking the House in 2010 but am still getting stuck on the math. As I noted last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was, as of the latest numbers, sitting on a net 5.5 times more money in the bank than the National Republican Congressional Committee, with the NRCC holding roughly enough money to competitively play in -- no joke -- one or two congressional districts. And where is the NRCC spending money right now? Not on offense but on defense.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is up on radio airwaves with a spot blasting Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan (D), who announced earlier this year that he is challenging Rep. Charlie Dent (R) in the eastern Pennsylvania 15th district.

The NRCC would not divulge the size of the buy, but their early purchase signifies that this is likely to be one of the top targeted races of the 2010 cycle. The radio spot, "It's a Callahan Christmas," follows Dent's 10,000 robocall "offensive" against Callahan earlier this month.

If the Republicans need to pick up more than 40 seats in order to retake the House, their campaign arm only has enough money to play in a couple of races, and at present the place where the NRCC is spending its cash is in a district with a vulnerable GOP incumbent -- a defensive rather than an offensive move -- how, again, are Republicans supposed to regain the majority?

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House 2010: The Money Chase

Not sure how the Republicans are supposed to retake the House if the Democrats have more than five times more money in the bank than they do.

The DCCC, like its GOP counterpart, spent more than it took in during Oct., thanks to the expensive NY-23 special election. Still, it outraised the NRCC, as the Dem cmte took in $3.8M last month. It also outspent the NRCC, shelling out nearly $4M (about $1.1M of which aided now-Rep. Bill Owens' (D) winning campaign).

While the DCCC has more debt than the NRCC ($3.3M-$2M), it has a huge cash-on-hand edge. At the end of Oct., the DCCC had $14.5M in the bank, while the NRCC lagged with just $4.2M.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a net $12.2 million in the bank as of the end of October; the National Republican Congressional Committee had a net $2.2 million in the bank at the time. This means that, as of the latest reading, the DCCC had more than 5.5 times more money on hand than did the NRCC.

When the Democrats sought to retake the House in 2006, cash management played no small role in their success. Indeed, by the summer before election day, the DCCC managed to stockpile more cash in the bank than the NRCC, a nearly unprecedented achievement to that point.

The NRCC is doing better than it was doing at this point in the 2008 cycle, when the committee was still running a net deficit. Nevertheless, until the GOP is able to make up this major disadvantage on the House side, undoing the Democrats' more than 5.5-to-1 lead in campaign cash, it's not at all clear to me how they are supposed to mount the type of effort that could possibly retake the House in 2010 (even leaving aside generic ballot numbers that show them continuing to trail nationwide).

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Democrats Crush GOP in Fundraising

The political climate is ripe for Republican gains, the Beltway elections watchers tell us. But those contributing to the 2010 campaigns disagree.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee more than doubled the money haul of its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, bringing in $7 million to the $3.4 million raised by the NRCC in the month of September. The cash-on-hand numbers are similarly good for the Democrats, with the D-trip holding a net $10.7 million in the bank to the NRCC's $2.3 million.

On the Senate side, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also handily outraised its GOP competitor in September, raising $5.9 million to the $3.2 million brought in by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The DSCC also leads the NRSC in net cash-on-hand by a $7.8 million to $5.2 million margin.

In addition, new reports show that for the first time since 2004, the Democratic National Committee has outraised the Republican National Committee for a quarter, $24.2 million to $22.9 million.

Must be great news for the Republicans, though!

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Alan Grayson, 2010 and smart fundraising.

Let me begin by saying that I agree with nearly everything that Congressman Grayson said and agree particularly with his comments that House Republicans are Neanderthals. I agree that someone who stands up and defines the Republican House Caucus for exactly what they are is an incredibly valuable thing. But at the same time I worry about campaign giving which depends almost completely on emotional response and which then leaves the donor nearly powerless over what happens to that money and which does nothing to solve what at this moment is the Democrats current biggest problem when it comes to the 2010. It is also important to look into the facts which surround every race, from the money dumped on Congressman Grayson, or Rob Miller who is challenging Joe Wilson in South Carolina's second district.

For instance, what percentage of Congressman Grayson's donors knew that he is a massive self-funder who gave himself more than three million dollars for his 2008 race.  This does not automatically mean he should be forced to self-fund forever, or that he isn't worthy of donations, but it does raise the question  at least slightly.  

When the money simple rains onto incumbents it distorts the system. It is more than likely that amongst the something like 100 democratic candidates running in either  open seats or challenging incumbent Republicans there is another Alan Grayson, or Carol Shea-Porter , or David Loebsack  who given the nature of the race they are running, are only that 100k, or so away from being for real.

As a first step, might I suggest to Congressman Grayson, that in response to the outpouring he has received his campaign committee goes out and finds ten strong house challengers who are progressive champions  and gives them the maximum allowed by law. This will run him at most half, of what he has raised from the progressive blogosphere and will strengthen his influence far more than simply keeping it for more television ads in his own district. If he announces those ten, we can have a multiplier effect, and truly strengthen our hand. It isn't perfect, but it is a start.  

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