- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

After losing 30 House seats, six Senate seats and control of both chambers in last year’s congressional elections, the Republican Party is now confronting adverse fund-raising trends that project an ominous 2008 electoral season if those trends are not reversed. This is true both at the presidential level and among the parties’ national fund-raising committees.

During the first quarter, for example, the three leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination raised 35 percent more in contributions ($65.8 million) than the three leading Republican presidential candidates ($48.8 million).

Consider also the changing patterns of individual contributions during the first four months of each two-year cycle (2003-04, 2005-06 and 2007-08) since the national fund-raising committees were banned from accepting soft money after the 2002 elections. Contrary to expectations, the Democrats have adjusted quite well, according to a recent report by the Federal Election Commission. Democrats now appear poised to exploit their newly acquired congressional majorities.

During the first four months of the ‘03-04 cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $7.5 million in individual contributions. That was about 80 percent above the $4.2 million raised by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During the first four months of 2007, with the Democrats in the majority, the DSCC raised $14.5 million in individual contributions compared to the NRSC’s $6.2 million.

During the first four months of the ‘03-04 cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee collected $28.2 million in individual contributions. That was 525 percent more than the $4.5 million raised by its Democratic counterpart. During the first four months of this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee collected $13.8 million in individual contributions compared to the NRCC’s $12.6 million. On April 30, the DCCC had $9.4 million in cash and $5.2 million in debts. The NRCC, meanwhile had $1.6 million in cash and $7.3 million in debts.

To be sure, the Republican National Committee collected $31.5 million in individual contributions during the January-April period this year. That was $13.1 million more than the Democratic National Committee’s $18.4 million. However, the Republican’s relative advantage among individual contributors has plunged since 2003, when it raised 260 percent more than the DNC ($36.8 million vs. $10.2 million) during the first four months of that year.

The RNC’s four-month advantage this year was 70 percent. But even that advantage could be fleeting. If Terry McAuliffe, who chaired the DNC during the ‘03-04 cycle and collected a mind-boggling $293 million in hard-money individual contributions during 2004 alone, ever taught current DNC Chairman Howard Dean how to raise party money, the Republican Party would be in really big trouble in the fund-raising sweepstakes.

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