GOP state parties have fund raising advantage

Reid Wilson:

As national Democrats gloat about a massive fundraising advantage the party's House and Senate campaign committees hold over their GOP counterparts, the story on a statewide level is decidedly different, and local Republican parties could provide a key cash advantage in several states, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show. In the forty three states where parties report their financial situations on a monthly basis, Republicans hold a cash advantage in twenty five, many of them battlegrounds that will feature prominently in both the presidential contest and in down-ballot races on which federal dollars can be spent.

While fundraising on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee has lagged far behind that of Democrats', some GOP donors frustrated with their party in Washington have found other outlets for their contributions. All told, Republican state parties raised nearly $13.4 million in federal dollars, known as "hard money," this cycle through February, while Democratic parties have hauled in $9 million in the same period, according to data compiled by one GOP operative and verified by Real Clear Politics.

Republican parties hold a bigger advantage in cash on hand, with $11.7 million in the bank compared with $6.65 million for Democrats. That's an average cash position of about $250,000 for the 47 parties that have reported contribution totals, better than Democrats' $141,000 average, money that can be used to influence voters choosing candidates for Congress or the White House.

Hard federal dollars are not the same as soft money that can only be spent on local races and are subject to different reporting laws and contribution limits. In most cases, party committees hold much more in those soft-dollar reserves than in federal accounts. In Florida, for example, the state Republican party has $964,000 available for federal races and $2.8 million in its state account as of the last reporting date, January 20.

But the federal dollars can matter. At a presidential level, John McCain can expect significant help in several states that President Bush won by narrow margins in both 2000 and 2004. The Florida Republican Party's federal haul is three times that of its Democratic counterpart, which had just $321,000 on hand through February. The Ohio Republican Party, devastated after losing the governor's mansion and a Senate seat in 2006, still holds a big cash advantage over the Ohio Democratic Party, with $207,000 in the bank compared with Democrats' $83,000. And in Pennsylvania, the Republican Party's advantage approaches a ten-to-one ratio, with the GOP's reserves at nearly $420,000 compared with Democrats' $45,000.

In those states that money can be used on Congressional elections as well, as all three feature races in which both parties are playing offense and defense. Elsewhere, Republican woes at the NRCC could be somewhat offset in states like Nevada, where Rep. Jon Porter finds himself a target of national Democrats. The Nevada GOP has $75,000 in hard dollars, compared with a Democratic federal account that is $2,000 in the red and boasts another $53,000 in debt. In Texas, where Republicans have targeted Democratic Reps. Nick Lampson and Ciro Rodriguez, the state party can pick up where the NRCC falls short, leveraging some of their $873,000 in federal money while Democrats have just $108,000 to work with.

...

This survey tracks my own contributions. Since the announcement of the Gang of 14 deal on judges, I have made no donations to the national party or national campaigns, but I have continued donations to the state party. I will probably continue to take the money out of politics with respect to John McCain's campaign. I do strongly support the efforts to defeat Pelosicrats like Lampson and Rodriguez and their MoveOn buddies. I also strongly support the campaign of John Cornyn for reelection to the Senate. I am delighted to see people like Chuck Hagel leaving the Senate.

What I would really like to see is a conservative grass roots effort in the blogosphere to support conservatives and more importantly to defeat liberals and anti war Democrats. That is an area where conservative bloggers need build interest that will give the conservative message a competitive advantage against the MoveOn Democrats who are desperate for our defeat in the war.

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