Democrats Approach Nov. 7 With a Surge in Fundraising

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006

Democratic fundraising for the midterm elections is ending with a surge.

In September, the Democratic campaign committees for the House and the Senate outraised their counterpart Republican committees, reversing historical trends.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $14.4 million and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee collected $13.6 million last month, they said. In contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $12 million and the National Republican Senatorial Committee collected $5.2 million.

The Republican National Committee, however, continued to outpace the Democratic National Committee. In September, the RNC raised $13.1 million and reported total receipts of $14.3 million, while the DNC said it collected $5.6 million.

The GOP committees maintained an overall advantage of about $10 million in funds available to be spent. At the end of September, the Democratic committees had $67.3 million on hand; the Republican committees had $77.4 million.

"The Republicans' extra $10 million is better than being behind," said Michael J. Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. "But it may not be enough if you're playing defense, which Republicans are."

The institute reported that 30 Democratic challengers had raised $1 million or more by Sept. 30, which compares with 12 Democratic contenders who exceeded the million-dollar threshold in 2004.

All three Democratic campaign committees raised more in the current election cycle than they did for the previous midterm elections four years ago; the House and Senate committees collected substantially more. Of the three Republican committees, only the House committee collected more this year than in 2002.

Over the past 21 months, the Republican committees raised a total of $408.4 million, while the Democratic committees raised $313.3 million, the Campaign Finance Institute calculated. The Republican total is about 10 percent lower than four years ago, while the Democratic total is 27 percent higher.

At the end of September, the DCCC had $36 million on hand and the NRCC had $39.2 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had $23.1 million in the bank, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee had $12.1 million on hand.

The Republican National Committee had $26 million available, three times the amount the Democratic National Committee had.

"We're comfortable that we've brought in the resources we need," said the RNC's Tracey Schmitt.

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