But the Republican National Committee, which is permitted to spend money on Mr. McCain’s behalf, has raised $31 million, compared with just $6 million by the Democratic National Committee.
But Josh makes the classic journalistic error, by failing to heed the creed of journalism consumers everywhere: “Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.” Even our nation’s paper of record, the NY Times.
The NY Times was flat out wrong; those are cash-on-hand figures, not dollars raised as stated. According to Open Secrets, the RNC has outraised the DNC $123 million to $73 million for the cycle, but even those figures are meaningless when taken out of context. Overall, between the two parties’ major fundraising committees, we have a virtual tie at about $330 million each, with the Democrats holding a substantial $27 million edge in cash-on-hand.
At all levels, that’s a huge reversal from previous elections, when the Republicans typically out-raised and out-spent the Democrats by wide margins.
But even that only tells part of the story. Bucking complaints from the Beltway establishment, DNC chair Howard Dean has doggedly pursued a “50 State Strategy,” pumping money and infrastructure into states the party has all but ignored for decades, rather than hoarding cash for the general election. This strategy has left the DNC perpetually broke, but paid huge dividends in 2006 when Democrats picked up key seats in traditional afterthoughts like Montana. It has also put Democrats in a position to exploit Republican meltdowns like that happening in Alaska. If you ask me, that’s money well spent.
As for the RNC’s $50 million fundraising lead, $20 million of that has come over the past three months, a time during which McCain had the Republican nomination all wrapped up, while Obama and Clinton continued to fight it out. To put this in perspective, Obama and Clinton have raised a combined $420 million for the cycle compared to McCain’s $77 million — a $61 million to $12 million advantage in March alone. And with the Democratic ticket finally settled, expect the DNC to keep pace with the RNC, if not narrow the gap between the two committees.
So while Josh may be worried, I’m not. Folks can’t let up, but comforted by some actual numbers, rather than a scary paragraph in a newspaper, I remain confident that the Democrats are in a helluva position heading into the fall elections.