Don's candidacy has sparked a fire amongst the unions here in LA-06. While they've worked with political candidates before, I've never seen them this excited about a candidate. If you like the idea of adding to the Democratic majority in the House with someone who will be there with us on the economic issues we all care about, then donate.
I also had the opportunity to interview Don, using questions from commenters here at Daily Kos, MyDD, and Daily Kingfish. The interview is below the jump!
Well, it's the 20th of the month, so that means it's time to take a peak into the finances of the two parties three main fundraising arms -- the main party committee and the committees for each house of Congress.
February Debts & Obligations
A few things are worth noting out of these numbers. First, the Democratic committees have better than a $28 million net cash-on-hand advantage over their GOP rivals. This works out to a rather remarkable 65 percent advantage just nine months out from election day. Would it be preferable to see the Democratic National Committee do as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, both nominally and relatively? No doubt. But these numbers, along with the numbers from presidential and congressional candidates alike, show that overall the Democratic Party as a whole is on extremely strong footing at this point.
Looking a little more narrowly, the DCCC appears to have successfully head faked the National Republican Congressional Committee into spending way too much money on its losing effort in the special election in Illinois 14th congressional district, which was vacated by former House Speaker Denny Hastert. Over the month of February, the NRCC, which already trailed the DCCC by about $30 million in net cash-on-hand, spent 38 percent more than the DCCC while raising 27 percent less. Combined with the hundreds of thousands of dollars the committee believed it had but in fact didn't, the financial situation at the NRCC probably could not get worse.
Finally, one cannot leave out the DSCC, which has better than a net 2-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Senatorial Committee. With the DSCC on offense in well over half a dozen races -- and perhaps even a dozen or more -- the situation over at the NRSC is fairly dire, as well.
GOP sources confirm that Rep. Tom Reynolds, a Western NY Congressman since 1999 and ex-NRCC chairman, will announce around noon tomorrow in Buffalo that he will not seek re-election this fall. Reynolds spokesman LD Platt did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
Reynolds, who is also a former Assembly minority leader, has been pushing back against retirement rumors for some time now.
But the recent NRCC fraud scandal - some of which took place on his watch - has made his re-election effort that much more difficult in an already tough year (increasingly Democratic state, presidential election etc).
Reynolds' district, New York's 26th, tends to lean about 3 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. But as we've seen over the last several cycles (and 2006, in particular), the Northeast is becoming increasingly hostile territory for Republicans, and specifically Republicans in the House. With at least one strong Democratic candidate already in the race -- Iraq War veteran Jon Powers, who had already raised a respectable $370,000 as of the end of December -- this seat very much could swing blue this fall.
Moreover, this is the 15th district that leans 6 or less points more Republican than the nation as a whole in which the GOP is on the defense without an incumbent in the race, and the 10th that leans 3 or less points more Republican than the nation as a whole. At a time when the National Republican Congressional Committee may have just a net $3 million in the bank, having so many competitive open seats in play is simply a nightmare.
As of the latest campaign finance filings, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported having a net $4.1 million in the bank. This number compared with the net $33.8 million held by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at last tally.
It's worth noting that although the NRCC faced worse than an 8-to-1 net cash-on-hand disadvantage against the DCCC as of the end of January, that spread does not include the nearly $1.3 million the committee spent in an unsuccessful effort to save the seat vacated by former House Speaker Denny Hastert (as much of that spending occurred in February and thus will be reported in about a week). What it did apparently include, however, was a whole lot of money that the NRCC didn't actually have.
In what had to be a painful press release to write, the National Republican Congressional Committee -- representing the party taking some hits in recent years for its record on fiscal management and competence -- acknowledged today that Chris Ward, a longtime employee and NRCC treasurer since 2003, had been fabricating financial statements to the bank and handing in "bogus audit reports" from 2002 through 2006.
This story broke last month ...but this latest news is grim.
NRCC chairman Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla, said that "evidence we have today indicates we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual. From the moment we learned that bogus financial statements had been submitted to the bank on our behalf, we took decisive and speedy action by contacting the FBI, which opened a criminal investigation."
Cole said that an external review found that at the end of 2006, "the NRCC's actual cash on hand was approximately $990,000 less than the amount reported to the FEC. The actual cash on hand as of the NRCC's most recent FEC report for January 31, 2008 (filed on February 20, 2008) was $740,000 less than the amount reported to the FEC." [emphasis added]
Taking this stunning new revelation into account, this would mean that the NRCC is actually in a significantly bigger hole than previously projected. Specifically, the NRCC actually has $30.4 million less than the DCCC, and faces greater than a 10-to-1 disadvantage. With numbers like these and serious questions remaining about the way that the committee handles its finances, it's getting hard to see how it would be able to make up much of that difference.