The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

House Democrats are starting to outraise their Republican counterparts

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) looks over her remarks before a news conference on Capitol Hill on July 14. (AP)

House Democrats have continued raising money at a historic pace, with the party campaign committee beating its Republican counterpart for the second quarter of 2017, according to fundraising data obtained by The Washington Post.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is set to report June receipts of $10.7 million Thursday, bringing its quarterly total to $29.1 million and its year-to-date total to just shy of $60 million.

Tyler Law, a DCCC spokesman, said a “solid majority” of the 2017 haul are small donations from the grass roots, which reflects “the massive amount of Democratic energy and widespread rejection of the Republican agenda.”

“These grass-roots supporters will help to sustain our momentum across the largest battlefield in a decade and keep the House in play,” Law said.

According to the Washington Examiner, the National Republican Congressional Committee is set to report $7.5 million raised in June, bringing that committee’s quarterly total to $24.1 million and its year-to-date total to $60 million — meaning the DCCC and NRCC are neck and neck on fundraising for the year. As of late Wednesday, the NRCC had not yet filed its June report ahead of the July 20 deadline.

The Republicans, however, maintain a cash advantage, with $33.7 million on hand for the NRCC versus the $21.2 million the DCCC now has in its accounts. And the figures reported by the party committees can pale in comparison to the unlimited sums raised by independent super PACs.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the main super PAC supporting Republican House candidates, reported raising $12 million for the year last month, most of which was spent to support GOP candidates in recent special elections. The House Majority PAC, Democrats’ main super PAC for House candidates, reported raising only $1.9 million in 2017 in a report filed last month.

Democratic leaders often plead poverty when they talk about their chances for 2018, conceding that Republicans are likely to raise more than Democrats as the midterms approach.

But Democrats say their fundraising performance has given them reasons to be confident — pointing not only to the DCCC’s advantage over the NRCC in recent months, but also to a surge of 3 million sign-ups for the committee’s email list this year and a clear surge in small donations. More than 60 percent of the group’s total 2017 receipts came online, through the mail or over the phone, and nearly 300,000 contributions came from first-time donors.

It remains unclear, however, if the grass-roots engagement will translate into Democratic votes next year.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Wednesday found that 52 percent of voters would prefer that Democrats control the next Congress, while 38 percent of voters favored Republicans. But there are indications that Democratic voter enthusiasm is lagging. Sixty-five percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents say they are certain they will vote next year while 57 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they will definitely vote.