With a fat donor list left over from his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor, there’s no doubt Dino Rossi could raise a relatively large chunk of money relatively quickly should he choose to jump into the race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray. But given Murray’s own fundraising prowess, and her $8.8 $9.8 million head start, it’s hard to see Rossi jumping into the fray without assurances of a substantial financial commitment from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Yet given the electoral landscape and the status of their own fundraising efforts, it’s equally hard to see the NRSC being able to live up to the kinda commitment Rossi would require.
Indeed, the NRSC’s current cash-on-hand, about $15 million, actually trails its performance at the same point in both the 2006 and 2008 cycles, when it was sitting on $16.6 million and $17.3 million respectively. In case you forgot, those elections didn’t turn out too well for Republican incumbents and hopefuls, yet if you believe the NRSC’s tough talk, it’ll be spending its resources in even more competitive races than it did in either of those two cycles.
By comparison, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continues to out-raise its Republican counterpart, and now enjoys $17.3 million cash-on-hand, a $2.3 million advantage.
Back in 2004, Murray ultimately raised over $13 million in her lopsided battle against the politically diminutive George Netthercutt, and with fundraising typically backloaded toward the final months of the campaign, there’s no reason to expect she won’t raise considerably more than that should she face a competitive challenger.
Can Rossi come close to funding parity in only five or six months? No. Can the NRSC afford to make up much of the difference? Not without drawing precious dollars away from more promising contests.
Rossi must know that. Thus as flattering as the NRSC’s attention surely has been, he must also know that he’s being asked to make a sacrifice for the good of the party, not the other way around. And I just don’t believe that’s a sacrifice — his gubernatorial ambitions — that he’s ready to make.