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DSCC, NRSC Pay Down Debt in April

Tom Williams/Roll Call
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, seen here after Tuesday’s Senate luncheons, last month paid off all of the NRSC’s remaining debt from the 2008 cycle.

Senate Democrats slightly outraised their GOP counterparts in April and also paid down a large chunk of their 2008 debt last month, according to fundraising reports set to be filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.1 million last month. As of April 30, the DSCC had $2.6 million in cash on hand.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $2.9 million and had nearly $2.7 million in cash on hand at the end of last month.

The NRSC also announced that it is now debt-free after beginning the cycle more than $4 million in the red.

Senate Democrats began the 2010 cycle $11 million in the red, but the DSCC made a major push to pay down its debt in April. The DSCC paid off more than $6 million in debt last month and ended April with $4.6 million in debt.

The NRSC’s April haul totaled $1.1 million more than what the committee raised in April 2007, but it is less than the nearly $5 million it raised in March.

So far this cycle, the committee has received donations from 94 people who have cut checks for $28,500 or more. Just 39 individuals had given the maximum amount at this point in the 2008 cycle. The NRSC has also added 27,676 first-time contributors in 2009.

“As we work to start closing the financial gap enjoyed by the Democrats in recent cycles, it’s clear that the NRSC’s message on the importance of checks and balances in Washington is resonating with concerned Americans across the country,” NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said Tuesday.

At the end of March, the DSCC posted $7.2 million in cash on hand but had about $10.9 million in debt. DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said Republican efforts to block the Obama administration helped boost Democratic fundraising in April.

“Every time Republicans stand in the way of President Obama’s agenda to get this economy back on track, it energizes our supporters because they know we need at least 60 Democratic Senators to end Republican obstructionism,” Schultz said.

Fundraising totals for the House campaign committees were not available Tuesday. April fundraising reports are due to be filed today at the FEC.

In other Senate race updates, Tuesday’s news was a mixed bag for Republicans.

A new poll out in Nevada showed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) could be in serious political peril in 2010 — if Republicans can recruit a top-tier challenger to run against him.

The poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed that just 38 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Reid, while 11 percent were neutral.

Perhaps more worrisome for Reid was the poll’s finding that just 35 percent of voters would vote to re-elect him if the election were held today. Forty-five percent of voters said they would definitely vote to replace Reid.

While the latest numbers are being touted by Republicans, the fact remains that the GOP still has not found a candidate to challenge Reid.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) weekly conference call with state political reporters again served to highlight the GOP’s ongoing soap opera in the Bluegrass State Senate race.

In what has become a regular occurrence, Bunning teed off on fellow Kentucky Republican and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

After calling McConnell a “control freak,” Bunning claimed that he would be better-served if McConnell didn’t back him for a third term in 2010.

Bunning’s weekly conference calls with Kentucky press have provided an ongoing glimpse into just how much the relationship between the two Kentucky Senators has deteriorated as Bunning fights for re-election without McConnell’s help.

On Tuesday, Bunning again blamed McConnell for Republican losses in the Senate during the past two election cycles. He said he and McConnell have been at odds since December, when Bunning said McConnell told him he was “too old” to run for re-election, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

McConnell’s office had no comment Tuesday on Bunning’s conference call.

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