- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Democratic National Committee will borrow up to $10 million for additional House and Senate campaigns the DNC now thinks it has a chance to win in next month’s midterm elections, a senior party official said yesterday.

With some campaign polls showing that more Republican-held seats than previously believed were vulnerable to a Democratic takeover, DNC Chairman Howard Dean has decided to obtain last-minute loans to pour more money into TV ads and other campaign assistance during the next 19 days, the party official told The Washington Times.

“I can confirm that the DNC is taking out a line of credit for a possible $5 million to $10 million loan to target more funding towards predominantly Senate and also House races,” the official told the Times.

Some of the borrowed money will be spent on “an outreach-media program” aimed at black and Hispanic voters in targeted House races where increased minority turnout is seen as the key to boosting Democratic gains in Congress, the official said.

With 19 days to go before the election, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, have been pressuring Mr. Dean to pour money into a number of their party’s unexpectedly close races.

Two possible targets for additional funding are in Virginia, where Republican Sen. George Allen is in a surprisingly tight battle with Democrat James H. Webb Jr., and in New Jersey, where Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez is in a dead heat with Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.

Mr. Emanuel, who has been bickering with Mr. Dean for much of the year over campaign funding for House races, thinks that as many as 58 seats are now in play and that with more campaign resources, Democrats could pick up as many as 40 seats, instead of the original estimates of 15 to 20.

Independent forecasters also point to a higher number of Republican congressional seats that are now at risk. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg told his weekly newsletter subscribers yesterday that “we are increasing our target range of likely Democratic gains to 18-25 [House] seats, and we cannot completely rule out the possibility of a tidal wave that could produce a Democratic gain well above that.”

The DNC has spent most of its funds on Mr. Dean’s national party-building strategy to put paid campaign workers in all of the states this year.

“They see an opportunity of a lifetime to regain the majority, and they don’t want to miss that because of lack of money. They are willing to take a risk with credit rather than being underfunded in the final weeks,” said Nathan Gonzales, an election analyst at the Rothenberg Political Report.

Heading into the final leg of the election last month, the Republican National Committee reported raising $7.7 million in August, with $29.8 million cash on hand, while the DNC said it had raised $6.6 million but had only $10.9 million in the bank, according to the latest figures available.

DNC officials said yesterday that they had raised $25 million this year for the campaigns, the bulk of which went into House and Senate races.

The Republican Party has substantially outraised the Democrats in the battleground congressional races. Federal Election Commission reports showed the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $28 million on behalf of its candidates in 27 tossup contests, compared with $13.8 million spent by the DCCC.

“Between now and the election, we will spend $100 million in target House and Senate races,” White House political strategist Karl Rove said Tuesday in an interview with reporters and editors at the Times.


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