It’s a strong showing for the DCCC’s chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), though he had plenty of help from his friends in the party: President Obama helped pull in $4.4 million in the quarter with a pair of West-Coast fundraisers, and while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) raised $14.2 million for the committee through both fundraisers (including the Obama events) and through online and direct-mail pitches.
“It’s clear that voters across the country understand what is at stake this election — up and down the ballot — and are choosing the Democratic path of expanded opportunity and forward progress, rather than building walls and breaking us apart,” Lujan said in a statement.
A few months ago, the conventional wisdom held that Democrats would have virtually no chance of retaking the House before 2022 — when party strategists expect post-census redistricting to put more seats in play. But the potential for a historically unpopular presidential candidate atop the GOP ticket in Donald Trump has some openly discussing the return of Speaker Pelosi in January.
The $44 million the DCCC now has in its bank account — twice the amount it had at this point in 2012 — will keep that chatter alive. But the committee’s GOP counterpart is also raising cash at a furious clip. The National Republican Congressional Committee had $39 million in its coffers at the end of February, and it has gotten big help from top Republican leaders to protect the party’s majority.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) last week reported sending $6.3 million from his Team Ryan joint fundraising committee to the NRCC in March, and other GOP leaders are likely to kick in to give the GOP a cash edge that is certain to be supplemented in individual races by big independent expenditures from Super PACs and nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups.
If there is an anti-Trump wave, there are also questions about whether Democrats have strong candidates in enough districts to secure a majority. But the new fundraising numbers indicate a lot of good news for Democrats — including strong grass-roots engagement and significant online receipts.
“People are now beginning to understand that things could set up — could set up — to give us a shot at the majority,” Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) told the Post last month. “They’re beginning to understand that’s a possibility, because of Mr. Trump.”
Updated 8:25 a.m. with revised fundraising totals for Pelosi.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.