“It helps to solidify the base,” he said, noting that the district has twice as many Republicans as Democrats. “We have to take the positive with the negative.”
The White House notes that new fundraising laws have altered the landscape. In 2002, political rallies could be paid for with a mix of federal and state party cash known as “soft money,” but this year, if a congressional candidate is involved in the rally, only “hard” money can be used.
Although many candidates this year prefer to keep a presidential visit under wraps, calls are still flooding into the White House requesting a drop-by by the fundraiser-in-chief. In 2002, Mr. Bush helped pull in $144 million, and so far this cycle, he’s collected $124 million for candidates and the RNC.
For example, last night’s Boca Raton fundraiser, at a massive stucco mansion in a gated community called the Sanctuary, collected more than $1 million for the RNC.
But most candidates have to make their last press buys Friday, so new money will likely not make it into this year’s campaigns.
Top Republicans say the reason for the sparse schedule with just two weeks to go is simple: The party raised plenty of cash early, and is poised for a press blitz in the final days.
“The AP ran a story saying these Democrat congressional candidates outraised their Republican incumbents in the third quarter,” senior Bush political adviser Karl Rove told The Washington Times last week. “What they didn’t say is part of the reason they did is because we raised the money earlier so people would be able to deploy.
“If you look at the 31 top races … we’ve got $31 million cash on hand, they have $15 [million]. That’s odds I like. And it doesn’t count what you see or what you don’t yet see at the national committees,” Mr. Rove said. “So you know: having incumbents, the structure, a plan, our financial advantage, all these things are going to come to play in the campaign.”
Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.