What a difference two years makes! In the 2010 midterm elections, the Republican National Committee failed to capitalize on grassroots anger with effective fundraising, leaving them in the hole when a party needs to fund get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts most. Only the intervention of outside groups saved Republicans from blowing a historic shot. The Democratic National Committee was relatively flush with cash — which didn’t stop Democrats from getting pounded in the midterms, but may have limited their losses, especially in the Senate.
Two years later, the RNC and DNC have changed positions — and this time, the DNC won’t be able to count on an outside-group advantage to salvage their efforts:
Heading into the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, the Republican National Committee announced that it raised $48.4 million in the month of September and has $82.6 million in the bank. The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, took $10.5 million in loans and raised less than half the RNC’s total last month — $20.3 million.
As of September 30, the DNC reported having $4.6 million cash on hand and $20.5 million in debt. $5.5 million of its debt is due to consulting services like pollsters, direct mail providers and events consulting firms.
The RNC’s large September haul came amid a disappointing month for Mitt Romney in the public polls, suggesting that the party’s October fundraising totals will outpace those in September.
RNC chair Reince Priebus explains how this will boost Republican fortunes:
“While we continue to put money into our ground game and fully fund our absentee ballot, early vote and Election Day GOTV efforts in all our battleground states, our historic cash on hand figure also allows us to continue funding our independent expenditure committee, run highly effective hybrid ads and assist in electing Republicans across the country at all levels,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
This probably won’t make much difference in the presidential race. The campaigns have their own GOTV efforts, especially Team Obama. Some of their efforts will have down-ballot impact, but no more so than Team Romney’s.
How did the DNC get caught so short? Team Romney agreed to a significant amount of revenue sharing in late April when they partnered officially with the RNC. Team Obama, on the other hand, has refused to share revenue beyond what the DNC gets in large donations that are ineligible for the presidential campaign, and telling Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that the campaign wouldn’t send cash to the DSCC and DCCC, either. (It should be noted that both the DSCC and DCCC have been competitive in fundraising even without that cash this year.)
The big impact here will be on House and Senate races. The RNC will have a much more robust organization in the field with the extra cash, and be able to drive more advertising in the final days. On top of that, Republicans have a large advantage with outside groups, which will also drive advertising (in that case, probably more toward the Presidential and Senate races). Some of that may have up-ballot influence, too.