NRCC Raises More, Spends Most of It

Posted July 15, 2003 at 6:53pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $44 million in the first six months of the year, roughly $30 million more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But Republicans spent all but $6.5 million of that take, putting the NRCC at rough parity with the cash-on-hand total of their Democratic counterparts; the DCCC still carries more than $2.5 million in arrears from the 2002 campaign, however.

“These are record numbers,” said NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti. “It is a very strong start in the face of campaign finance reform and puts us in strong financial shape heading into the election year.”

Much of the committee’s spending has been to an Ohio-based telemarketing firm in hopes of further expanding its hard-dollar donor base. The NRCC has brought more than 230,000 new donors into the fold since January, according to Forti.

The NRCC’s total fundraising through June 30 is roughly $6 million more than it had raised at this point in the 2002 cycle when it was able to raise both hard money and soft money that could be collected in unlimited chunks. The Republicans also have $1.5 million more hard dollars on hand than they did in 2002, Forti noted.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, passed in the 107th Congress, banned the party committees from raising soft money and was seen as a devastating blow to Democrats who had become reliant on the form of financing over the last several elections.

As impressive as the NRCC’s total appears, House Democrats also had reason for optimism one-quarter of the way through the 2004 election.

The DCCC was significantly more frugal with its spending through June 30, retaining $6.3 million of the $14 million it raised. That put the committee a negligible $200,000 behind the NRCC in cash on hand.

“We are meeting our goals and staying on task and that is what it takes to win back the House,” said DCCC Communications Director Kori Bernards. “These numbers are very encouraging.”

Republicans hold a 12-seat advantage in the House after picking up six seats in the 2002 elections.

Forti noted that while the NRCC had paid off the $6 million debt it carried over from the last election, Democrats still stood more than $2.5 million in the hole. The DCCC started the cycle with more than $6 million in bank loans.

The DCCC is under no requirement to pay off its debt before November 2004 although committee leaders have pledged to do so.

On the Senate side, the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $14.4 million from Jan. 1 to June 30 with $5.2 million in the bank. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $11 million with $2.5 million still on hand.

The DSCC had a $4.5 million debt; the NRSC had none.