Behind the Numbers: RNC Boasts of Fundraising Haul

Dec 22, 2011 5:00am

The Republican National Committee is boasting of its latest fundraising total, and Democrats aren’t showing signs that they’re scared.

In a note to the press, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus touted his effort to pay off $11 million in debt while having $14.1 million in the bank. The Democratic National Committee has $10.5 million in comparison, and the DNC raised $6.7 million in November while the RNC grabbed $7.1 million.

That $6.7 million includes almost $3 million from a fundraising account run by the DNC and President Obama’s campaign. But it doesn’t reflect money raised in the parties’ committees for congressional candidates.

While Priebus said that “political momentum” is on Republicans’ side, Democrats have the advantage of a president who can raise millions of dollars by himself, said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic consultant.

Marsh added that dismal approval ratings for Congress don’t support the idea that voters support the GOP-run House. “You have to say that if you’re an incumbent Republican in the House and the Senate, you cannot be happy,” she said.

In the 2012 election cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $56 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee has raised just short of $52 million, according to filings recorded by the Center for Responsive Politics. The parties’ Senate committees are about equal: almost $36 million for the Democrats and almost $37 million for the Republicans.

But is measuring a party’s financial strength by the amount of money its committees have still relevant? So-called super PACs have changed the game, said Meredith McGehee, the policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that focuses on campaign finance disclosures and ethics.

“The party committees still raise and want the money so they can control it, but like candidates, the rise of outside money fueled by corporate funds threatens to make them bit players in their own campaigns,” she said.

Gauging enthusiasm is another matter. Priebus said in his fundraising note that its $7.1 million haul last month came from “grassroots supporters and major donors alike.” Among all Republicans, though, a roller coaster primary appears to have made them less certain of whom to get behind to take on Obama.

While the candidates have rotated in and out of the top of the pack, Republican voters also suggest that they’re not completely satisfied with the way things are going. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 59 percent of Republicans said they’re satisfied with their choice of candidates — but only 11 percent said they were “very” satisfied, while the remaining 48 percent said they were “somewhat” happy. More than one-third of Republicans, meanwhile, said they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied.

And 64 percent of Republicans in the poll said there was a chance they could change their mind about whom they’d vote for in the upcoming primaries.

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