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The Fix: Dem committees hold big cash lead over GOP

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By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010; 8:51 AM

1. The three Democratic campaign committees ended March with approximately $22 million more in the bank than their Republican counterparts, a financial edge that party strategists hope will insulate them from considerable losses in the coming midterm elections.

For the month of March, the Democratic National Committee ($13.5 million raised), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($6 million) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($9.8 million) collected just north of $29 million.

By contrast, the Republican National Committee ($11.6 million), National Republican Senatorial Committee ($5 million) and the National Republican Congressional Committee ($8) million brought in roughly $24 million for the month.

The widest cash on hand differential between committees was in the House where the DCCC ended March with $26 million in the bank as compared to just $10 million for the NRCC. The closest margin was in the Senate where the DSCC's $17 million on hand outpaced the NRSC's cash total by just $2 million.

As always, the release of the numbers were quickly followed by spin on what they meant for the midterms.

"House Democrats' grassroots individual donors are energized by passage of health insurance reform, while Republican Leader John Boehner and House Republicans are focused on shaking down Wall Street and K Street for campaign contributions," said a DCCC spokesperson.

NRSC communications director Brian Walsh penned a memo to reporters making clear that while his committee did trail Senate Democrats in cash on hand, it was by a far smaller margin than in cycles past. "Considering the Democrats control the White House and have 59 Senators, shouldn't the trend be going in the opposite direction, instead of so rapidly in the Republicans' direction?" Walsh asked.

The simple fact is that money matters hugely in campaign politics but it only matters to a point. The stronger the national wind is blowing in Democrats' face, the less their financial advantage will matter.

One needs only to go back to the 2006 election cycle where national Republicans went into the fall confident that their financial edge would allow them to beat back the growing anti-Bush/anti-GOP sentiment in the electorate. They were wrong -- losing 31 seats and the House majority with it.

Democrats are doing everything they can to build a financial firewall against which any Republican electoral wave will crash. But, recent history suggests that there are some waves that no wall can hold back. It's too soon, however, to accurately predict whether that wave is building in advance of November.

2. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending another $55,000 on a new television ad in the Hawaii special election, bringing their total investment in the seat to roughly $140,000, according to FEC records.

The latest DCCC commercial -- the committee's second in advance of the May 22 special election -- hits Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) for his opposition to a plan that "protected the jobs of 2,000 Hawaii teachers and staff." The ad's narrator urges viewers to check out Djou's "troubling record" on education at djoufacts.com.


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