The RNC during the second quarter saw a consistent uptick in fundraising, bringing in $6.1 million in April, $6.2 million in May and $6.7 million in June. The RNC classifies major donors as those contributing $10,000 or more at one time. According to that metric, $1.7 million of the committee’s June take came from this group, an increase from the $115,000 the RNC raised from major donors in June 2009.
Priebus has dedicated $6.7 million raised this year to debt, including $1 million in June, although the goal for 2011 is no longer to necessarily pay off the committee’s debt completely as much as it is to bank as much cash as possible to help the eventual presidential nominee. Of the remaining $17.5 million in debt, only $3 million is owed to outside vendors. Meanwhile, Priebus has reduced the RNC’s payroll and overhead by 36 percent.
According to at least one Washington, D.C.-based Republican operative with ties to the capital’s professional GOP community and the grass roots, Priebus is getting high marks for his performance running the RNC thus far, in part because of the deteriorated state of the committee’s finances and political infrastructure when he succeeded Michael Steele as chairman in January.
At least since the 1994 cycle, when now-Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was RNC chairman, the committee was considered the gold standard of the GOP’s national party committees. That changed under Steele, whose overall fundraising numbers might not have been far off, considering the state of the Republican Party in late 2008, in the aftermath of Obama’s victory.
Priebus has been working to restore the RNC’s image — particularly in the eyes of major donors.
“I think they are doing well and others think so as well. The problem is there is no really standout presidential candidate and also we are a long way from having a nominee to coordinate money with, unlike the president, so money is slower than it could be,” the Republican operative said. “People inside the Beltway really just want the RNC to get like it has been in the past. If the chair demonstrates that is happening, he will be deemed successful.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.