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Bad Month For NRCC

Even before Republicans lost a special election to replace retired House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the National Republican Congressional Committee was reeling from a weaker fundraising performance in the wake of an accounting scandal that rocked the committee and will cause a dramatic reevaluation of previously-filed fundraising support.

The NRCC raised $4.5 million in February while spending $5.1 million, at least part of it on Hastert's seat, and after reexamining bank accounts reported $5.1 million in the bank with a debt of $1.9 million. The report, the second filed over the signature of new Treasurer Keith Davis, shows a much weaker financial position than the NRCC was purportedly in on February 1, when the party reported $6.4 million in the bank. That report came before the full extent of former Treasurer Christopher Ward's duplicity was known.

Last month, by contrast, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported raising $6.2 million and spending just $3.7 million. After being outraised by a fraction by the NRCC in January, the committee once again widened its fundraising advantage going into November, carrying a bank balance of $38 million and just $762,000 in debt. Republicans likely closed that gap earlier this month, raising $8.6 million at a single dinner fundraiser, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her caucus to give more from their own campaign funds to compensate.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, while in better shape than its House counterpart, still trails Democratic coffers by a wide margin, their FEC reports show. The DSCC raised nearly $4.8 million in February and doled out close to $2.5 million, to retain $32.8 million in the bank. The NRSC raised over $3.9 million and spent a frugal $1.9 million to retain about $15.3 million in the bank. The disparity is much smaller than that between the DCCC and the NRCC, but Democrats still retain a two-to-one advantage in what has historically been a Republican strong suit.

A bright spot for Republicans continues to be the Republican National Committee, which pulled in $10.6 million in February and spent $7.4 million, retaining $25 million, while the Democratic National Committee raised $6.3 million and spent $4.5 million. When Florida Senator Bill Nelson asked for financial assistance to help his state hold a new primary, DNC chair Howard Dean had a bank account of just $4.7 million, along with $250,000 in debt, to work with.

Dean's 50-state strategy provided some big wins in unexpected places last year, but the program is costing the party significant amounts of money. Nearly half of the expenditures listed in the committee's FEC reports are for staff salaries in every state in the country, alongside an already-large Washington staff. While it costs money to maintain those staffers, Democratic chairs from around the country maintain they are happy with the program.