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Democrats Grab Money Advantage in 2007's First Quarter

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By Chris Cillizza
washingtpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, April 20, 2007

For the first time since the passage of campaign finance reform in 2002, national Democrats have outpaced their Republican rivals in the race for campaign cash in the first three months of an election cycle.

Democrats collected $47.7 million through the Democratic National Committee as well as their House and Senate campaign arms, while the Republicans' three committees brought in $47.4 million, figures provided yesterday by the organizations show.

During a similar time frame in 2005, Republicans had raised $62 million through their national and congressional committees, and Democrats about $32 million. At the end of the first quarter of 2003, the GOP advantage was bigger: $54 million to the Democrats' $19 million.

The Democrats' fundraising gains were most evident on the congressional level. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $13.7 million to the National Republican Senatorial Committee's $7 million -- taking in more money in March than the NRSC did in three months. The DSCC also ended March with nearly triple the money in the bank -- $9.5 million to $3.45 million.

The best news for the NRSC was that it erased the $1.3 million debt from the 2006 election. The DSCC carried $6 million in debt at the end of March.

"We couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2008 Senate elections," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the DSCC chairman. "The support for Democratic candidates and ideas is enormous and is propelling us to a big lead in fundraising."

The House picture was not much better for Republicans. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee collected $19 million between Jan. 1 and March 30 and had $9.8 million in the bank. The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $15.8 million in the quarter and had $2.5 million to spend. Both committees carried debt from the last election cycle: $7.9 million for the NRCC and $4.9 million for the DCCC.

The Republican National Committee was the lone saving grace for Republicans' financial hopes, raising $24.6 million in the period -- nearly $10 million more than the DNC. The RNC closed March with $12.8 million; the DNC had $6.9 million.

Research editor Lucy Shackelford and researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to the report.


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