In any rational world, Democrats would be in the middle of a fundraising bonanza. Republicans have produced almost nothing from years of promises, thanks to infighting that has paralyzed Congress. A Republican president has historically poor approval ratings. A social outrage has galvanized women, thanks in part to the same GOP president. The money should be pouring into Democrats’ coffers.
And yet — and yet —
The Republican National Committee raised $9.2 million in the month of October and has brought in more than $113 million so far this year, far outpacing their Democratic counterparts, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The RNC ended October with $42.5 million in the bank and no debt. The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, raised $3.9 million in October and $55 million this year.
The DNC has $5 million cash-on-hand and $3.2 million in debt.
Say what? Not only did the RNC outraise the DNC, they more than doubled their revenue in just the month. The RNC has also burned through it at a fairly significant 62% clip, but the burn rate for Democrats has been even higher — 90% without the debt. Even with that burn rate, they’re only raising half of what Republicans have in 2017.
Democrats do better with their congressional committees at the center of the 2018 midterms, but not by nearly enough. The NRSC raised $34 million this year as of the end of September, and had $14.8 million cash on hand with $10.7 million in debt. In contrast, the DSCC has raised $40.3 million in the same period, with slightly more cash on hand ($15.8 million) and less debt ($8 million) than their Republican counterparts. That gives Senate Democrats a slight edge on a claim to the fundraising title, but considering the overwhelming scope they face in 2018 in defending 25 seats to the GOP’s 8, the practical effect is that the NRSC has a large advantage.
In the House, the picture is a little different. The DCCC has raised $89 million and has $32.1 million in the bank, with no debt at all. The NRCC has kept pace in some ways, hanging onto $40 million cash on hand, but only by spending considerably less over the year. They trail on revenue by $12 million at $77.1 million. The GOP have more seats to defend in the House, and they’ll need to spend heavily to succeed next year.
Still, it provides a stark contrast to the DNC’s performance under Tom Perez and Keith Ellison. This could be a hangover from the DNC’s corruption by the Clintons as progressive voters punish the central committee for its past sins, but that doesn’t explain the high burn rate combined with the failure. Either Perez is leaving the DNC in a position where it can’t compete in 2018, or its benefactors have grown disenchanted with the operation altogether. That will make it tough for Democrats to make any inroads at the state and local levels next year.
In a rational world, Perez would already be gone this far into a disastrous 2017. Democrats are giving him more time to turn it around; he recently cashiered the DNC’s finance director, whom Perez brought into the DNC as part of his rebuilding program. If he can’t compete with the RNC in this kind of target-rich environment, he might be next.