Daily Revolt

November 26, 2007

Short of Money, G.O.P. Enlists Rich Candidates

You can think Bush for this one too. The party of the rich is to become more so (this should not be interpreted as suggesting that the Democrats don't also represent the ruling class):
Confronting an enormous fund-raising gap with Democrats, Republican Party officials are aggressively recruiting wealthy candidates who can spend large sums of their own money to finance their Congressional races, party officials say.

At this point, strategists for the National Republican Congressional Committee have enlisted wealthy candidates to run in at least a dozen competitive Congressional districts nationwide, particularly those where Democrats are finishing their first term and are thus considered most vulnerable. They say more are on the way.

[...]But Democrats, who have been closely monitoring the Republican millionaires, assert that the recruiting underscores the Republicans’ financial weakness since they lost control of Congress in 2006.

The most recent figures show that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $56.6 million and has $29.2 million at its disposal. By contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee has raised $40.7 million with a cash balance of $2.5 million.

That is a striking turnabout for the Republicans, who have outraised the Democrats by considerable margins for years. As recently as 2006, the Republican Congressional campaign committee raised $40 million more than its Democratic counterpart, $179.5 million to $139.9 million.

“National Republicans are in disarray, forcing them to recruit inexperienced and unprepared self-funders,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

It's a crisis in California:
On the verge of a presidential election year, the California Republican Party is slashing funds for key operatives as the party struggles to overcome lackluster fundraising and lingering debt.

[...]ts finances are so shaky, the state party faced the choice of ending the funding or possibly laying off workers from its staff, according to one official.

[...]The cuts are "really going to hurt the party statewide, there's no doubt about that," said Jack Duncan, whose job with the Kern County GOP is financed in part with the state dollars.

"A lot of people think volunteers will step in and take care of a lot of these issues. That's stretching it, I think," Duncan added. "Someone is going to have to ... take care of the fundraising activity and do all those kinds of things. For some of the counties, that's going to be pretty tough."

According to state records, the California GOP was $1.7 million in debt at the end of October, the most recent figures available. Its federal committee was nearly $430,000 in the red, records show.

[...]"I don't know how to sugarcoat this," Fleischman wrote in the e-mail. The party "is going through a very fiscally challenging period."

Warned by the party's chief operating officer that state GOP layoffs could follow if the county funding was continued, "I was forced to vote to end a program that I believe is a good one, simply because we are faced with a situation of limited resources," Fleischman wrote. He later predicted finances would improve.

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