Republicans and Democrats raising big money for governor's races

With 37 governor's races coming up this November, the Republican Governor's Association and the Democratic Governor's Association are pulling in big money. The RGA "raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand," CNN reported yesterday. The DGA raised $8 million during the first quarter, setting a new record for the organization, and has $22 million on hand. A DGA press release noted that first-quarter receipts in 2010 exceeded the organization's fundraising during the first six months of 2006.

The RGA and DGA set fundraising records in 2009, with the Republican organization bringing in $30 million and its Democratic counterpart raising $23 million. I'm pleasantly surprised that the DGA has been able to stay so competitive with the RGA's fundraising in 2010. The first couple of months of the year were rocky for Democrats politically, and many major Republican donors have been fleeing the Republican National Committee for various reasons, including RNC staffers' embarrassing fundraising plans and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. I suspect a lot of contributions that would have gone to the RNC in other years are flowing to the RGA.

Yesterday's press release from the DGA noted:

Since 2006, the DGA has compiled an impressive winning record on targeted races. In the six races where both governors committees have spent at least $500,000, DGA has won four. [...]

The strong first quarter fundraising piggybacks on two consecutive record-breaking years for the DGA and builds on what was already the largest cash-on-hand in organizational history. With $22 million already in the bank, the DGA will spend more on races in 2010 than it spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. Grassroots donors are fired up about the GOP’s redistricting takeover plan and they boosted the DGA tothe $8 million mark with a surge of contributions in the final days of the first quarter.

“Even as we’re raising more than ever before, we’re spending that money wisely,” said Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director. “We’ve trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters – into the races on the ground – and our burn rate is the lowest it’s ever been. We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high – Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power.”

Some of the key redistricting states with competitive gubernatorial elections include California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

GOP Goes for Trifecta of Ineffectiveness with Rick Perry at RGA

The respective heads of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, John Ensign and Tom Cole, are already having terrible trouble keeping up with their Democratic counterparts, both in terms of fundraising and recruitment. Now it looks like Rick Perry is poised to join their ranks of ineffectiveness as new head of the Republican Governors Association. The Rothenberg Political Report's Nathan Gonzales has the story over at Political Wire.

In a development not yet made public, knowledgeable Republicans say that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is likely to take over the Republican Governors Association in 2008. The move is significant because RGA Vice Chairman Matt Blunt (R) has been in line to become chairman next year. Governor Blunt is the son of U.S. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R).

The reason for the change is clear: the Missouri Republican's own '08 reelection is in doubt, and he will need to spend all of his time and energy trying to win a second term. He faces state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D), a formidable foe. Perry isn't up for reelection again until 2010, which gives him more time to help the RGA with fundraising and candidate recruitment.

The Perry-for-Blunt switch is still pending official approval until the GOP governors' vote at their annual conference in November, but savvy observers expect the change to be accepted without controversy.

Perry is an interesting choise for this position. I suppose somebody had to claim the post this cycle. Last fall, Perry was reelected with just 39 percent of the vote -- the lowest percentage support for a victorious gubernatorial candidate since Jesse Ventura won Minnesota's governorship on the Reform Party ticket with 37 percent of the vote in 1998, and the lowest percentage support for a victorious gubernatorial reelection bid in recent memory. Perhaps Perry will be able to bring some of this winning spirit to his party's efforts to reclaim their majority of the nation's governorships this cycle, which they lost in 2006...

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