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August 22, 2008

Ensign slams GOP colleagues

In a biting statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign slammed his GOP colleagues today for not contributing money to the party’s campaign coffers.

Ensign said that the party will now have to cut back on its independent expenditures for the November election.

"I recently challenged my colleagues to step up to the plate and help me provide the resources our candidates need to compete in races across the country — to match the DSCC expenditures in targeted races. It has become clear that my call has gone largely unanswered,” Ensign said in a statement.

“I have no control over the timing or content of IE ads, but I have had no choice but to decrease the total budget of our IE Unit. It is still my hope that my Republican colleagues will engage in this election and help match what the Democrats are doing. If they do, I will adjust our budget accordingly."

The NRSC has badly trailed its Democratic counterpart in fundraising throughout the election cycle. It ended July with $25.4 million in its campaign account, while the DSCC banked $43 million.

The DSCC has already begun spending money on advertising in the Oregon, Mississippi and North Carolina Senate races, while the NRSC has not yet begun its advertising blitz.

My colleague Marty Kady, fresh off the campaign trail in North Carolina, is also reporting that the NRSC also has pulled its reserved advertising time on behalf of Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.).

From Marty’s dispatch:

The NRSC reserved about $6 million in ad buys in North Carolina, according to sources from both parties, which was meant to show that the GOP was ready to play hard in what has become a dead heat race between Dole and Democratic challenger Kay Hagan.

But on Wednesday the NRSC yanked the money because, it turns out, the dough was never available in the first place. One GOP Senate source said it was a “head fake” that pulled the rug out from under Dole. But Dole told Politico in a phone interview Thursday that she realizes in this tough national climate for Republicans that she’s on her own in the race and will have to raise all her own money without relying on the NRSC.