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Specifically, Fraioli suggested that the GOP push to go after entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security could prevent Republicans from overpowering Democrats in the cash game. That theme certainly hurt Republican momentum in the recent New York special election.
"I don't know if there's a lot of money out there for throwing old people and kids under the bus," he said, adding that Democrats need to find a way to build off the surprise New York victory. "As long as things continue to look up for Democrats, as they did after the special election, the [fundraising] gap shouldn't be that big. But that enthusiasm has to continue. There has to be some optimism."
It should be little surprise, of course, that the balance of power has shifted. If anything, Democrats suggest they've done well to outraise the NRCC in the months immediately following the GOP takeover last fall. But the scope of the improvement within the House Republican campaign arm over the past two years is remarkable.
To say things were bad in 2009 was an understatement.
The NRCC's former treasurer had been charged with embezzlement several months earlier. Republicans were crushed in their second consecutive election cycle. And national magazines suggested that the GOP brand was nearing extinction.
It was a dark year for House Republicans, who had little idea of the historic gains they would enjoy in 2010.
The NRCC raised just $36.2 million in 2009, its worst showing in 12 years. The DCCC, meanwhile, generated 54 percent more, or $55.6 million.
"With energy comes money and in 2009 the NRCC was lacking both," said a GOP strategist familiar with NRCC operations last cycle. "But the team that was in place then — many of whom are still there — put in place a plan in preparation for the eventual shift in the political environment."
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas) became NRCC chairman in January 2009. He brought with him an optimism that was ridiculed at the time (he set out to end Nancy Pelosi's run as Speaker) and connections to a wealthy Texas donor base.
It's too soon to say whether the NRCC's May advantage will persist. Through the end of the May, the committees fundraising numbers were essentially tied for the year; the DCCC reported $27.45 million to the NRCC's $26.82 million.
The DCCC, while downplaying expectations for the next quarterly filings, offered an optimistic assessment of the situation.
"Despite being in the minority, the DCCC is in a dead-heat with the NRCC in year-to-date fundraising but there's no amount of money Republicans could raise that could explain why they voted to end Medicare so they could protect taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil," said DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson. "In town hall meetings and poll after poll, buyer's remorse is setting in."
Look to the next batch of quarterly campaign filings, however, to see whether that "buyer's remorse" has any effect on the cash battle.comments powered by Disqus