NRSC’s Fundraising Rebounded in February

Posted March 20, 2007 at 6:47pm

After being outraised by more than 2-1 in January, the National Republican Senatorial Committee narrowed the gap significantly in February, falling just shy of matching its Democratic counterpart in campaign contributions.

According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $2.6 million last month, closing the 28-day period with $2.5 million in cash on hand and a $6 million debt. The NRSC, which raised just $917,000 in January compared with the DSCC’s $2.2 million, brought in $2.4 million in February, to finish with $1.4 million in cash on hand and a debt of $700,000.

A spokesman for the DSCC, which ran fundraising circles around the NRSC for the entirety of the 2006 cycle, said Senate Republicans still have their work cut out for them if they hope to catch the Democratic committee.

“We are on track to meet all of our goals,” DSCC spokesman Matt Miller said.

Meanwhile, the NRSC this week is preparing for its big spring fundraising dinner. The event is scheduled for Thursday evening at the Mayflower Hotel, with Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show host and Fox News commentator, set to appear as the keynote speaker.

With Democrats in control of Congress, it is expected that the DSCC’s financial prowess from the previous cycle will continue, especially with a dogged fundraiser such as DSCC Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) still running the show at the committee.

But NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.), who said in a recent interview that Schumer is the standard he compares himself against when it comes to fundraising, is hoping to even the score.

Ensign predicted that the already demonstrated ability of Senate Republicans to kill Democratic legislation via the filibuster would produce an increasing level of contributions from individuals and interest groups that are philosophically aligned with the GOP.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined on Tuesday to discuss its February fundraising numbers, which were not due to be turned in to the FEC until late Tuesday night.

However, the National Republican Congressional Committee was reporting to the FEC contributions of $3.6 million, with $1.6 million in cash on hand and a debt of $10.4 million.

Though it was still saddled with a significant debt, the NRCC touted a fundraiser featuring Bush that was held in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and raised $6.2 million for the committee. According to the NRCC, most of that amount will be reported in April on the committee’s FEC report for March.

“Since January, we’ve made significant progress paying down the debt and this month’s report shows continued evidence of that commitment,” NRCC spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger said. “We expect to make even bigger gains next month coming off of a very successful March dinner.”

Among the national party organizations, the Republican National Committee in February continued its dominance over the Democratic National Committee. Last month, the RNC raised $6.8 million — compared with $4.3 million for the DNC — to finish with $10.8 million in cash on hand and no debt.

The DNC closed February with $7 million in cash on hand and a $4 million debt.

Although the DCCC declined on Tuesday to reveal its fundraising numbers for February, officials said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) was scheduled to host a quarterly strategy session for Democratic Members on Tuesday evening.

The dinner, the first event of its kind this year, is intended to inform House Democrats about their political situation and what the DCCC is doing to protect and expand their majority.

“Chairman Van Hollen [planned to] lay out our strategy moving forward and how we build on the excitement, momentum and strong recruiting environment generated from the 100-hour agenda and our message of change,” DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said.

According to Thornell, Van Hollen planned to single out for their recent contributions to the DCCC Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.); Mike Thompson (Calif.); Steve Israel (N.Y.); Kendrick Meek (Fla.); Collin Peterson (Minn.); and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (Mass.).

Frank has donated $350,000, Israel has given $200,000, Meek has contributed $150,000, and Thompson, Becerra and Peterson have delivered $100,000 each to the DCCC’s war chest.

Van Hollen’s pep talk likely will not lessen the sting of the increased dues he is imposing on Members this cycle.

In addition to the minimum $125,000 House Democrats must pay in biannual dues, they also have to raise at least $75,000 specifically for the DCCC.

Those Members with choice committee assignments are being asked to give $100,000 on top of their regular dues, which could be as much as $350,000.

Nicole Duran contributed to this report.