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Sanford's RGA Outraised Dems

The Republican Governors Association, led until late June by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, announced this morning that it raised $12.2 million through June 30, and boasts $20.4 million cash on hand as the 2009 gubernatorial races get ready to heat up. The DGA announced earlier that it had raised $11.6 million in the first half of the year. Both committees say their tallies are new records; the RGA boasted having four times as much money as it did in the 2005 cycle, while the DGA said it only raised $10.5 million in all of 2005.

As the RGA chair, Sanford had pitched the idea that a Republican comeback would begin with the gubernatorial races this year. "Republican governors are going to have a disproportionate level of influence in determining what comes next," he told donors in February at the committee's annual gala in Washington. Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) chaired that dinner, which accounted for at least $10 million of the fundraising total.

"The RGA's ability to outraise the Democrats despite their control of the White House, Congress and majority of governorships, proves that more people than ever believe a Republican comeback begins with the 39 governors' races that are taking place over the next two years," RGA Executive Director Nick Ayers said in a statement.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.), chair of the DGA, said the fundraising is "even more impressive given the difficult fundraising climate, and builds on the strong foundation we have already laid to protect our majority."