WASHINGTON - Republican campaign committees held a slight edge on Democrats
heading into the last weeks of the election battle for Congress, with both
parties flush with cash and ready for a free-spending finish.
The Republican National Committee and the Republican Senate and House
campaign committees reported on Thursday a combined $77 million in the bank at
the end of September, compared with $67 million for their Democratic
Democrats, enjoying clear momentum in public opinion polls, gained ground in
the money chase during September. The three Democratic committees raised $33
million during the month, compared with $30 million for Republicans.
Both parties are spending heavily on paid advertisements and get-out-the-vote
operations on behalf of candidates in the November 7 elections. Democrats must
gain 15 House seats and six Senate seats to seize control of each chamber from
President George W. Bush's Republicans.
The Republican cash advantage was attributable to the fund-raising prowess of
the RNC, which had $26 million in the bank, compared with the Democratic
National Committee's $8 million.
The DNC also opened a $10 million line of bank credit for the final push,
with half pledged to the Senate committee and half pledged to voter turnout
operations in targeted House seats.
The Democratic Senate committee had $23 million in the bank, versus $12
million for the Republican Senate committee, while the Republican House
committee edged its Democratic rival in cash on hand, $39 million to $36
Before Friday's deadline for filing September financial reports with the
Federal Election Commission, both parties said the quick pace of fund raising in
September showed high interest in the election.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said, "This is clear evidence that Republicans all
across the country are committed to maintaining our majorities in Congress and
electing Republicans this November."
Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, head of the Democratic House campaign
committee, said the fund-raising totals reflected the public's concerns "about
the direction of our country and their willingness to invest in the change that
The spending by the campaign committees augments
spending by individual candidates across the country in the congressional
elections. All 435 House seats and 33 of 100 Senate seats are up for election on