House 2006: Huge Fundraising Increase For Democratic Challengers
by Chris Bowers, Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 11:32:32 AM EDT
The FEC has released a very detailed report on congressional candidate fundraising during the 2005-2006 cycle. Among the many charts, tables and stats, I found this passage to be the most salient:House campaigns raised $544 million (up 18% from 2004 levels) and spent $325.5 million (17% above the previous cycle). They reported a cash balance of $367 million as of June 30. Receipts by Republican House candidates increased 12% with increases for incumbent candidates (23%) and open seat candidates (15%) but a decline in overall receipts for Republican House challengers of 34% when compared with 2004. Democratic candidates' receipts were 26% higher than in the last cycle with a small increase for incumbents (4%) and larger increases for both open seat candidates (46%) and challengers, whose fundraising more than doubled when compared with 2004. When it comes to money and recruiting candidates, Democrats are clearly in a much, much better position in 2006 than they were in 2004. Further, compared to 2004, Democrats have superior positions in national polls, and greatly superior positions in competitive races. Factor in what appears to be increasing evidence that Democrats are turning out at higher levels than Republicans, and now we basically seem to only be lacking in terms of message and the always frustrating conspiracy gap (though we are making up ground in that department).
While by no means perfect, this is undeniably the best effort Democrats have put forward to retake the House since we lost it in 1994. If Democrats start talking more like Rahm Emmanuel did today, and less like how they were talking at the DLC conference two weeks ago, then we might really be in business. If it took the impending the defeat of Joe Lieberman for Emmanuel and others to finally get the clue we have so longed for them to find, that just means that one of the most basic rationales many of us have always had for supporting Ned Lamont has already been demonstrated. No one in DC will want to become the next Joe Lieberman, and people will realize that forces outside of the control Democratic political professionals in DC are now representative of a huge portion--quite possibly the majority--of the Democratic rank and file. This campaign has the potential to significantly change the Democratic Party for the better, as the progressive movement is taken more seriously in DC, and as far fewer Democrats become willing to cozy up to the conservative movement in all its various manifestations.
I'll be in Connecticut tomorrow through Wednesday to take part in this historic moment. I hope to see you there.