On Verge of 2008, Dems on Remarkably Strong Financial Footing

The big numbers for the Democratic committees continued through the end of 2007, the latest campaign filings sent to the Federal Elections Commission yesterday show:

CommitteeDecember ReceiptsDecember DisbursementsDecember Cash-on-HandDecember Debts & Obligations

Overall, the Democratic committees are maintaining a staggering $32.4 million cash-on-hand advantage, or about a 92.7 percent edge over the rival Republican committees. Even when debts and obligations are taken into account, the Democrats still lead by over $30.1 million, or an even higher 94 percent.

Of course it's not all bad news for the Republicans. As has been the case for some time, the Democratic National Committee continues to significantly trail the Republican National Committee, both in terms of fundraising and cash-on-hand. What's more, the National Republican Congressional Committee finally broke into the black in December after having lagged in the red for the first 11 months of the year, with a net $2.6 million in the bank after debts. On the other hand, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee does have better than a $31 million advantage over its GOP counterpart when debts and obligations are taken into account, or about 13 times as much money as the NRCC.

One more point: This is the third straight month in which the National Republican Senatorial Committee came in last in terms of fundraising among all the party committees. So much for Republican efforts to get anywhere near financial parity on the Senate side.

And just an addendum... The Democratic presidential candidates continue to crush their Republican rivals in terms of fundraising, too.

NRCC Chair: Bush Welcome to Campaign for GOP House Candidates

It's pretty hard to come to the conclusion that Tom Cole's tenure as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, at least thus far, has been an abject failure. This is not to say that Cole's job isn't difficult, because it definitely is. But looking through his record, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that he has had a remarkable lack of success. His committee is still in the red less than a year out from election day and trails its Democratic rival by more than $30 million in net cash-on-hand. Much of this double-edged deficit rests on Cole's inability to get his colleagues to donate to his committee. The situation at the committee has been so bad that House Republican Leader John Boehner tried to strip Cole of much of his power.

Yet even considering all of this, Cole's latest actions nevertheless seem to stand out for their sheer lack of foresight and the immense potential for damage it might inflict on his party. The Hill's Walter Alarkon has the story.

Despite his low approval ratings, President Bush will still be welcome on the campaign trail for Republican congressmen in 2008, said Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Bush will offer a substantial boost to many House and Senate candidates representing solidly Republican districts and other targeted areas, said Cole (Okla.). At the same time, he may be less effective with regard to the GOP presidential nominee, who will be trying to establish his own message.

"I can think of a lot of districts in America that I would love to put George Bush in," Cole added. "I tell you what, he's still pretty popular in Georgia, he's still pretty popular in Kansas, he's still pretty popular in districts we're interested in in California."

While the Democrats already hold immense advantages in their race to increase the sizes of their majorities in the House and the Senate -- for instance their aforementioned cash-on-hand lead, as well as their double-digit lead in the generic congressional ballot question -- it seems to me that one of the few things that the GOP can do to make the Democrats' job even easier would be to make the 2008 elections about George W. Bush. But indeed, this is exactly what Cole is attempting to do.

And Cole is not only welcoming Bush to red districts, as he tries to imply in the article. Bush already went out to Washington state to fundraise for GOP Rep. Dave Reichert in the state's eighth district, which leans about 2 points more Democratic than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. (You can support his Democratic challenger Darcy Burner here.) Similarly, Bush will soon go to Missouri's sixth district to raise money for GOP Rep. Sam Graves, who faces a very stiff challenge from former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes. Even though the district has a Republican lean, Bush's overall approval rating in the red state of Missouri is just 34 percent, with 63 percent disapproving, indicating that it's not so clear that his appearance offers an overall benefit. (You can support Barnes here.)

So I'm with Tom Cole in sending a message to George W. Bush: Please campaign for Republican congressional candidates in 2008!

There's more...

Democratic Committees Still Thrashing GOP Opponents in CoH

Remarkably, the campaign finance numbers for the Republican party committees are looking about just as bad as ever, with the Democratic committees continuing to hold better than a 2-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage even when debts and obligations are taken into account. Take a look:

CommitteeNovember ReceiptsNovember DisbursementsNovember Cash-on-HandOctober Debts & Obligations
DSCC (est.)$4,100,000$2,100,000$25,500,000$2,000,000
NRSC (est.)$2,300,000$1,400,000$10,400,000$0

A few days back I noted how great a disaster the seemingly competitive (but eventually not terribly competitive) special congressional elections earlier this month, both in Ohio and in Virginia, were for the GOP. In short, the DCCC was able to make a gambit and head faked the NRCC into dumping way more money than it could have afforded into both districts, further deepening the committee's monetary woes. These numbers bear out that assessment, with the NRCC still holding as large a net debt as it has in recent months -- and less than a year out from election day -- and the DCCC continuing to raise more than it spends, amassing over $29 million including debts.

And it's not only the NRCC that has been forced to spend like a drunken sailor as of late. In November, the Democratic committees raised about $2.5 million more than their Republican counterparts while the Republican committees spent $2 million more than their Democratic counterparts. So instead of cutting away at the Democrats' financial advantage the Republicans actually saw themselves losing quite a bit of ground -- more than $4.5 million, in fact.

In short, these are good days for the Democratic campaign committees, with even the DNC coming a net $1.5 million closer to the RNC than it was a month ago. No doubt it would be preferable to see better results coming out of Washington, results that would give voters a more affirmative reason for returning and indeed enlarging the Democratic majorities to Congress rather than just the reactive reason of voting against Republicans (which, it's worth noting, does remain a strong argument). That said, I'd rather be sitting on a net $54 million (or so) than a net $25 million (or so).

NRCC: The Epitome of Low Expectations

Such is the woes of House Republicans, that holding onto a pair of ruby red districts is cause for celebration in the confernce, even as one member after another announces his or her retirement. According to The Politico, the twin victories in the VA-01 and OH-05 special elections has led to a modent boost in fundraising.

There's more...

Boehner: No One Wants to Donate to Republicans

Over the past few weeks the National Republican Congressional Committee got duped by its rival Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee into dropping more than $400,000 on a race in the very Republican-leaning fifth district of Ohio -- money that House Republican leader John Boehner admits his party is having the darndest time raising.

Polls show the public holds congressional Republicans in low esteem. Boehner's effort to craft a new agenda for Republicans remains under wraps. And in the minority leader's own words, their fundraising "sucks."

"Now the money sucks for two reasons," Boehner said in a Politico interview. "People are mad at the president; they are mad at the party. And then [there is] this whole immigration fight. People just turned off the spigot."

Boehner has undertaken a study, consulting corporate image experts, to "re-brand" the party. But so far, no big ideas have emerged. Some of his own colleagues regard Boehner as more of a transitional figure, between the Gingrich-DeLay era (in truth, both men drove Boehner to distraction) and the next generation of leadership.

No money, no big ideas, more and more Republican incumbents opting for retirement rather than reelection. These are rough times for the House GOP. We have to wait for a bit more than a week (until the 20th) to find out just how bad the party's money woes were as of November 30, but as of the end of October the NRCC has more than a million dollars in net debts (the committee's obligations well outweighed its cash-on-hand), and trailed the DCCC by over $28 million when everything is taken into account. That's not the sign of a vibrant party. It's not even a sign of a viable party. The race for the House of Representatives is far from over at this point. But unless things start seriously changing, I'd be surprised to see the Democrats net less than a gain of 10 seats next fall.

There's more...


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