Democratic Cong. Campaign C'tees Hit $100 Mil. On-Hand

With the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee now fully part of the two parties' presumptive nominees' campaign efforts and likely to spend the great bulk of their cash on the race for the White House, I'm splitting off the two national committees from my monthly tally of the finance filings of the parties' congressional committees to write about them instead in tandem with posts on the fundraising of John McCain and Barack Obama. So on their own, here are the latest numbers on the parties' congressional campaign committees:

CommitteeJune ReceiptsJune DisbursementsJune Cash-on-HandJune Debts & Obligations
DSCC (est.) $10,800,000.00$3,000,000.00$46,300,000.00$0
NRSC (est.)$6,000,000.00$3,000,000.00$24,600,000.00$0

Right now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has close to a 2-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's edge over the National Republican Congressional Committee on the House side is roughly 6.5-to-1. Overall, the two Democratic committees have a 3-to-1 lead in cash in the bank, as well as an astonishing $100 million available.

These numbers again underscore the fact that although the punditry can try to make it seem that the race for control of Congress, or even Democratic efforts to significantly increase their majorities in both Houses, are closer than they actually are, the money race makes it exceedingly difficult for the Republicans to do much to defend themselves this year. Coupled with the generic congressional ballot polling showing the Democrats maintaining a wide advantage within the electorate, these fundraising numbers show again that the Democrats maintain a real opportunity to bring sweeping change this fall -- a situation that can only occur, however, if the party remains diligent and energized through election day.

Cook Political Sees Massive Shift to House Democrats

The folks at the Cook Political Report (subscription required) released their latest House race rankings late last week with the seeming timing of a document dump (sending out the ratings on the Thursday afternoon before a three-day weekend isn't exactly the way to draw attention), so some might have missed the news that of the 28 changes in race rankings, 27 represented upgrades in the prospects for the Democrats.

At present, Cook sees four seats as leaning towards a pick-up for the challenging party -- all four benefitting the Democrats. Among those races that Cook rates as either leaning towards a switch or a tossup, Republicans must defend 22 to the Democrats seven (or, in other words, Republicans are defending more than 75 percent of the most endangered House seats). Moving more broadly to the group of seats viewed as already competitive -- lean pick-ups, tossups, and lean retentions --  the Democrats must defend 19, the Republicans 33 (or about 63 percent). And in the even larger group of seats that are either competitive or potentially competitive, the GOP must defend a whopping 68 seats to the Democrats 33. That's right; Cook sees more than a third of the Republicans' 199 House seats potentially being in play in 2008.

The latest ratings from the Rothenberg Political Report aren't too dissimilar. Among the races that at best tilt towards the incumbent party but go as far as lean towards a switch, Rothenberg sees the Democrats playing defense in nine districts, the Republicans in 19. Overall, Rothenberg views 40 Republican seats in play and just 24 Democratic ones.

In short, the overall environment is beginning to catch up to the GOP in these race rankings. Although there has been a tendency to only look at the specifics of each individual race in divining that race's ranking -- a tactic, I might add, that was quite successful in cycles past in which there hasn't been much movement in either direction -- with the Democrats holding a sizable lead in the generic congressional ballot question and an unprecedentedly large lead in cash-on-hand among the congressional committees (the DCCC has $47.2 million in the bank to the NRCC's $6.7 million, a 7-to-1 advantage), there is little doubt that the outside forces coming to bear on the individual races now favor the Democrats (perhaps even enough so to sweep to victory some candidates who might otherwise not even have a chance at winning).

There's more...

Why It's Good to Go Out on a Limb in Some of These Races

I'm really stoked that we were able to hit our fundraising goal for MyDD's Road to 60 Act Blue page in the less than a week that the list has been up. We were able to put money into the coffers of campaigns that can really use it -- campaigns that can help the Democrats reach the threshold of 60 seats in the United States Senate, campaigns that are nevertheless overlooked by many.

But for those who wondered why you go out on a limb every once in a while to support a long-shot candidacy, one that the race-handicappers (including some of us in the Netroots) may pooh-pooh at, Charles Pierce tells a story of one such race that could have made a huge difference had a few more folks been paying attention a couple decades ago (h/t Eschaton):

In 1990, while I was in the employ of a now-defunct all-sports daily newspaper, I went to Atlanta to work on a piece about Evander Holyfield, who was preparing to fight James (Buster) Douglas for the heavyweight champeenship of the woild (!). Anyway, one night, my hotel was hosting a fundraiser for a guy named David Worley, a lawyer who was running against Newt Gingrich. What the hell, I thought, maybe the hors d'oeuvres are good. I went down to the ballroom and, in the course of extensive freeloading, I talked to a number of people from the Worley campaign who were absolutely convinced that their guy could take Gingrich down. They were extremely frosted at the Democratic National Committee, which barely bothered to return their phone calls. By the end of the evening, they even had me convinced. Turns out they were right. I made a little coin taking Worley and five points against some of the hepcat political pros of my casual acquaintance.

In case you didn't click the second link in that quoted section, as it so happened David Worley, a then 32 year-old candidate who was overlooked by the pundits and who received only a $5,000 check late in the race from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, lost to New Gingrich in during the 1990 midterms by only about 980 of the roughly 156,000 votes cast in the Georgia district. What's more, he apparently did this not only without much of any national attention or help, he did it without having the money to advertise on television.

One need not think back even that far for examples of races coming out of nowhere to shock the race-watchers. In 2006, Carol Shea-Porter and Nancy Boyda ran decidedly outsider campaigns on track to win competitive or even reddish congressional districts in New Hampshire and Kansas, respectively. Even more recently, Democrats swept a trio of special elections during the spring in districts that tended to lean 6 to 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections.

But the Worley example stands out for another reason: It is possible to stop some of these people before they inflict their damage upon the country. Hindsight is 20/20, and it's always easy to play Monday morning quarterback (or in this case 18-year-later quarterback), but if Worley had gotten even just a slightly stronger end of the cycle push in 1990, it's possible that he would have won, depriving the nation of Gingrich even before he and his demagoguery came to control the Congress.

This isn't just a "what if", however -- it's a wake-up call. It is why contesting every seat is so important. I know nothing about the Worley candidacy, save for the fact that Worley ran as an outsider against then-House Minority Whip Gingrich during the 1990 midterms (which, by the way, were good but not great for the Democrats, who added a net 8 seats to their majority in the House counting Bernie Sanders in Vermont), but it was quite possibly the case that he wasn't the most progressive candidate that fall. However, a narrow victory rather than a narrow loss for Worley would have meant no Speaker Gingrich, and no Speaker Gingrich would have meant, well... you get the picture.

That's yet another reason it is so important to expand the map and run a truly 50-state campaign. So thank you for your help in pushing to Road to 60 page reach its goal, as well as for contributing to other candidates and other efforts elsewhere.

There's more...

Final Second Quarter Push: "Mr. Ensign, Tear Down This Firewall!"

Goal ThermometerThe time is now to candidates on the MyDD Road to 60 Act Blue page. It's not only the case that the end of the quarter is fast approaching -- it's tonight, so contributions you make tomorrow and onward aren't generally going to show up on candidates' campaign finance filings until the middle of October.

Todd will be running down the reasons why we're supporting Rick Noriega down in Texas a little later today. You can read a whole lot about Jim Slattery of Kansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi, and Kay Hagan in the profiles of each candidate we have already posted to MyDD.

For those who aren't huge fans on long-ish posts (I know I find getting through them a bit of an effort at times), here's a quick(er) (or at least bulleted) run-down of what this effort is about:

  • Getting to 60 votes in the Senate is important for legislation. The Republicans are setting records for filibustering important legislation from Iraq to energy to the economy to healthcare. Simply put, the more Democrats there are in the Senate, the greater the likelihood of progressive legislation being enacted (particularly if Barack Obama is elected).
  • Sixty votes are also important for judicial nominations. Do not underestimate the Republicans' stomach for filibustering judicial nominees, particularly an Obama pick for the Supreme Court. It's a bit cliche to say that the balance of the Court is in jeopardy -- but it really is. With the prospect of some of the more progressive members of the Court retiring in the next few years, we need a Democratic president -- and a Democratic Senate willing to approve of nominees to the bench -- in order to ensure that conservatives can't turn back the clock to the 1800s (and don't think for a second that they don't want to).
  • Making the Senate more progressive matters. It is great to support the most progressive candidates. I am a big proponent of electing progressives. It's a big part of the reason why I was happy to be a part of the Draft Udall effort and why I have spoken out in favor of candidates like Donna Edwards in the past. But electing someone who is progressive on most, but not all issues to replace a right of center quasi-moderate Republican makes the entire Senate more progressive as a whole. It's a net move. Even electing a moderate Democrat who is more conservative than the mean on some issues while more progressive than the mean on others (say Musgrove for instance) to replace an extremely conservative obstructionist (like Trent Lott, whose seat Musgrove would take if victorious) makes the entire chamber more progressive. In short, it's better to have someone voting with you even 50 percent of the time than just 10 or 20 percent.
  • Shooting for 60 increases the likelihood of big pickups. If you don't compete, you can't win. Beyond that, with the DSCC holding close to an 80 percent advantage over the NRSC in cash-on-hand, it's important to press that edge and spread the GOP so thin that it can't defend itself anywhere.

So to reiterate, the time is now to make your contribution. We're looking for 60 contributions by the end of the night tonight, with each candidate on the Act Blue page showing at least 25 contributions. It's a modest goal, no doubt, but one that's nevertheless important to meet. Even $10, $25 or $50 would go a long way. So please hit up the Road to 60 page today.

Update [2008-6-30 11:1:37 by Josh Orton]: Need one last kick in the pants to convince you? Republicans worry that with any more than three losses, conservatism will be in trouble:

During a meeting with journalists on Thursday, Senator Ensign gamed several of the most competitive races for Republicans this year, and talked about his desire to hold their losses to just three seats in the Senate. His pitch to donors and supporters is that Republicans in the Senate could be the “firewall” against a potential Obama presidency and a strengthened House leader in Nancy Pelosi.
Break down the firewall.

There's more...

GOP Committees Nearly Catch Up to Dem Committees in May

After nearly a year and a half into the 2008 cycle, which has seen the Democratic campaign committees generally hold a 50 percent or even 100 percent cash-on-hand advantage over their Republican counterparts, the GOP committees have finally begun to catch up (or at least the Republican National Committee has). Take a look at the latest numbers filed with the Federal Election Commission Friday:

CommitteeMay ReceiptsMay DisbursementsMay Cash-on-HandMay Debts & Obligations
DSCC (est.) $5,920,000.00$4,950,000.00$38,530,000.00$0
NRSC (est.)$4,890,000.00$2,700,000.00$21,560,000.00$0

The congressional campaign committees for the Democrats continue to hold about a 3-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over those of the Republicans, strongly suggesting that those who believe that the two parties' efforts to control the 111th Congress will be financially on par are just not right. The Democrats' 7-to-1 advantage among House campaign committees is particularly remarkable.

Obviously the numbers from the Republican and Democratic national committees leave room for concern. The RNC is raising a huge amount of money -- no doubt in part because John McCain is soliciting contributions in amounts approaching $100,000 in value, a huge chunk of which goes to the national committee -- and the DNC isn't matching it. Yet. If you want to help eat away at that difference, head over to Act Blue today and make a contribution.


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