Republicans Beating Democrats at Money Game

Eric Kleefeld reports that, while Democratic candidates are beating their Republican counterparts by embarrassing margins at fund raising, the reverse is true at the national level.

The Republican National Committee has announced that they have $31 million cash-on-hand at the end of March, money that can be used to assist John McCain as well as down-ballot races this Fall.

Quarterly figures aren’t available yet for the DNC, but it’s likely they’ll be way behind — at the end of February, they only had $4.8 million on hand, with $250,000 in outstanding debts.

This is essentially a tradeoff that comes with Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy — if the DNC’s primary mission is to act as a financial and organizational clearinghouse for state parties and candidates, it ends up not raising very much money for itself. We’ll find out in the months to come whether the Republicans can successfully exploit this weakness.

Indeed. My strong guess is that a lack of money won’t be an issue in any significant race this year. Whatever advantage Obama has over McCain, say, will be offset by party money and independent expenditures. Similarly, there will be plenty of money to go around for competitive gubernatorial, Senate, and House races.

The optics, however, might be quite different. With so many Republican incumbents retiring and the difficulty of finding serious Republicans to challenge in a lot of contests, there may be a lot of non-competitive races. But any candidate, of either party, given a serious chance of winning will be able to run all the ads they need.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    On the other hand, Obama and Clinton have been taking in tens of millions of dollars in donations and spending them on the primary. I know politics isn’t an entirely rational system, but surely there has to be a limit to the pocket books.

    It may be that down ballot races are the ones that have trouble raising money. Or it may be that the economy is so strong that there is just loads of excess cash to be spent on the luxury item of an election.

    I will tell you this, if you give either party any money, then be prepared to endlessly hear that ‘now’ is always a critical juncture requiring you to give them more money or see the end of civilization as we know it. A liberal friend and I tested this by comparing political begging emails showing that with the obvious red meat changes in language, they were remarkably consistent across parties.

  2. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    A lot of this is just distribution. The DSCC has double the cash on hand of the NRSC, and the DCCC has more than seven times the net cash on hand of the NRCC (which is practically broke.) Taking into account that the RNC hauls in a lot more than the DNC, the Democrats have approximately 3:2 cash advantage over the Republicans.