“And none [of the super PACs] will feel any compulsion to run positive ads — they will all be negative.”
The RNC’s hasn’t fully crawled out of its money hole. Its $10.9 million in debt is almost double that of the DNC. And the $110 million the RNC raised this cycle is nearly identical to what it brought in at the same point during the past two cycles.
But GOP officials say the RNC’s financial gains are all the more impressive because the party’s drawn-out presidential primary season has left it without a nominee to inspire potential donors. When a winner does emerge, the RNC has ready a fully funded $21.6 million “President Trust,” a fund that can be spent in coordination with the nominee’s campaign.
“When you are the DNC and have the presidency and you are losing to the RNC, which doesn’t have a candidate and is in the middle of a primary, that’s a problem and quite impressive for us,” Ms. Kukowski said.
How that money is spent will be critical to the GOP’s electoral success in November.
Many blamed former RNC Chairman Steele for misdirecting party funds during the 2010 election season, accusing him of spending too much on fundraising events and not enough on get-out-the-vote efforts in the final days of the campaign.
Reince Priebus, who took over as chairman for Mr. Steele in January 2011, has been credited with cutting operating expenses while beefing up small and large donor lists.
“The irony coming out of the 2010 elections for Republicans was that they could’ve won a lot more races if they had an actual ground game, but there was no money for it,” Mr. Appell said.
“We all believe it’s important to have good ads on the air, but if there is no ground game, the Republicans will not do well, because the Democrats will have ground game, and it will be good.”
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Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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