With Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at the helm, the Democratic Governors Association increased fundraising 57 percent from 2007 to 2011, bringing in over $20 million last year, the organization announced Tuesday.
In 2007, the run-up year to the 2008 elections, the DGA raised $12.7 million.
The DGA is not expected to release its full reports for several days, and the group’s fundraising total will fall far short of the Republican Governors Association, which announced it raised over $22 million halfway through the year.
But in a statement Tuesday, O’Malley (D) cast the fundraising total as record-setting for the organization and sought to use the tally as evidence the DGA is well positioned to help Democratic governors across the country win in November. He also used the tally to stress a theme that voters have buyer’s remorse for electing Republican governors in 2010.
One DGA target in recent months has been Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) who lost a ballot fight in the fall to curb union powers. But the group faces bigger challenges in coming months.
Eleven states, including eight now controlled by Democrats, will hold elections for governors this year. Democrats will be hard-pressed to maintain those eight. The Cook Political Report rates half — Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina — in its “toss-up” category. By comparison, only Indiana, one of three states now held by Republicans and on the ballot next year, is similarly uncertain. As chairman, O’Malley will be in charge of outside fundraising for those races.
The position will also continue to provide O’Malley a platform with which to continue building a national reputation. He has used his first year as head of the DGA to launch sharp attacks on Republican governors and GOP presidential hopefuls. With increasing frequency he has also served as a surrogate for President Obama and the Democratic Party’s positions on Sunday morning talk shows.