Democrats Have Cash Edge

Posted July 16, 2008 at 6:33pm

Democrats held the financial advantage in twice as many competitive House races as Republicans as of June 30, according to a Roll Call analysis of second-quarter campaign finance reports.

Of the 40 closest House elections in the country, candidates in 37 races were required to report their financial activity for the past three months with the Federal Election Commission this week. In those 37 races, the leading Democratic candidate had more cash on hand than the leading Republican in 25 districts, compared to just 12 districts where the GOP contender had the edge.

Candidates in competitive races in Kansas and Michigan won’t have to file their FEC reports until next week because of the timing of those states’ primaries.

Several Democratic freshmen who have been targeted by the GOP held cash advantages of 2-1 or better, while Democrats in some key open-seat races were also well ahead on the financial front. Democratic challengers had cash-on-hand leads over at least two potentially vulnerable Republicans, Reps. Randy Kuhl (N.Y.) and Dave Reichert (Wash.).

What’s more, the challengers to Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.) outraised the incumbents during the past three months, while the challenger to Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) kept pace in what is likely to be one of the most expensive House races of the cycle.

“The energy and excitement continues to be with House Democrats and our message of change,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Less than four months until Election Day, Republicans are struggling to defend their status quo agenda and Sen. [John] McCain’s campaign for George Bush’s third term.”

But the financial news wasn’t all bad for Republicans. Vulnerable incumbents such as Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) continued to hold commanding cash leads over their Democratic challengers, both of whom are seeking rematches. Challengers to Reps. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Nick Lampson (D-Texas) outraised the incumbents in the second quarter. And Republicans held cash-on-hand leads in tossup open-seat races in Minnesota’s 3rd district, New Mexico’s 1st district and New York’s 26th district.

Even Kuhl — a veteran New York politician whose fundraising numbers have been sluggish for the entire 2008 cycle — finally outraised his challenger, retired Navy officer Eric Massa (D), in the quarter.

“Republican candidates continue to post impressive fundraising numbers in some of the most competitive races in the country,” said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Voters are responding to the campaigns of Republican challengers who are running against a broken Washington, especially as they begin to fully realize the consequences of a Democratic majority in Congress.”