April 16, 2004
The fundraising race

Some mostly good news: Democrats are keeping pace with Republicans in fundraising for this year, at least in many individual races.

Over all, the Republicans held a two-to-one financial advantage over their Democratic rivals through February, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign finance. The Republican National Committee and its counterparts for the House and Senate raised almost $256 million and had about $70 million on hand. The Democratic committees raised about $115 million and had about $26 million banked.

"The financial advantage affords us the ability to have a more positive impact as we go forward," said Dan Allen, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "It's a matter of how much you have in the bank."

In Florida, which holds an Aug. 31 primary to fill the seat of Senator Bob Graham, a Democrat who is retiring, three leading Democrats raised more than $7.3 million while three leading Republicans raised slightly more than $4 million. In North Carolina, where another Democrat, Senator John Edwards, is stepping down, Erskine Bowles raised $2 million during the quarter, compared with $1.25 million for the Republican challenger, Richard Burr. But Mr. Burr has more money in the bank, $5.7 million to $3.3 million for Mr. Bowles.

South Dakota is shaping up as one of the most expensive races this year, with Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, raising $2.9 million for the quarter while his Republican challenger, John Thune, generated $2.2 million. Mr. Daschle has an advantage in cash on hand, $5 million to almost $2 million. But with a Democratic Party leader appearing vulnerable, Republicans are expected to pour millions of dollars more into the race.

South Dakota also has an unusually energized House race to fill the seat vacated by Representative Bill Janklow, who stepped down after he was sentenced to 100 days in jail for an auto accident that killed a motorcyclist. Stephanie Herseth, who ran against Mr. Janklow in 2002, raised slightly more than $1 million in the quarter while her Republican rival, State Senator Larry Diedrich, raised $886,000.

Among other House races, two in Texas are already demonstrating major donor interest because they match incumbents through redistricting. In one, Pete Sessions, a four-term Republican, raised $950,000, almost twice as much as his Democratic opponent, Martin Frost, a 13-term Democrat. In the other, Randy Neugebauer, a freshman Republican, pulled in $275,000 compared with $245,000 for his 13-term Democratic opponent, Charles W. Stenholm.

Link via The Stakeholder, which thinks the NYT story understates the Dems' success.

More info from the daily Congressional briefing passed along to me in email from reader JD:

Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson reported raising $335,000, which included a $70,000 bank loan balance, and had $490,000 on hand. His GOP challenger, Ted Poe, raised $95,000 and had $35,000 on hand. Democratic Reps. Max Sandlin and Chet Edwards padded their warchests as Republicans nominated their challengers in Tuesday's runoffs. Sandlin raised $200,000 and had $375,000 on hand, while GOP nominee Louis Gohmert had $120,000 on hand March 31. Edwards collected $465,000 and saved $815,000 for his race against GOP state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, who had $50,000 on hand.

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman said the 18 vulnerable Democrats in its Frontline program ended the quarter with an average $632,000 on hand, and raised $911,000 in the cycle overall. According to numbers compiled by FECInfo's PoliticalMoneyLine, at least 10 incumbents mentioned as targets by the other party posted campaign balances of at least $1 million. In addition to Sessions and Frost, the list includes Republican Reps. Bob Beauprez of Colorado, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, Anne Northup of Kentucky and Jim Saxton of New Jersey, and Democratic Reps. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Rick Boucher of Virginia, Darlene Hooley and David Wu of Oregon, and Jay Inslee of Washington.

In the Presidential race, Liberal Oasis notes that grassroots fundraising has had a good effect for John Kerry.

Earlier this week, the NY Times reported that a major Silicon Valley businessman, a Dem donor, is turning his back on Kerry and the Dems this year.

Why? Because the Dem position to minimize the outsourcing of American jobs would hurt his bottom line.

What you don't hear right now is the giant sucking sound of Dems kissing this guy's ass.

Because Kerry is raising so much money from the grassroots, he doesn't have to kow-tow to this rich guy's concerns.

That means the $100 Revolution is working.

That would be the plan to get a modest donation from as many people as possible. It's basically cribbed from the Dean campaign, but hey, it's working so far. I've made my contribution, so be sure to make yours.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 16, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack