Washington Prowler

Terry and His Impoverished Pirates

The numbers are in, and the Democrats lose huge in latest hard money scramble.

By 2.24.03

Last Thursday DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe told reporters that under his leadership the national party was going to close the fundraising advantage that Republicans have long enjoyed. McAuliffe has forever complained that Republicans have been able to draw on millions of contributors who respond to direct mail appeals and who consistently give the party donations under $1,000, but who give donations consistently, sometimes several times a year.

Touting a new data base with tens of millions of names, McAuliffe crowed that within several years Democrats would be pulling in so-called "small" contributors at about the same rate as Republicans. If the newest filings at the Federal Election Commission are any indication, though, McAuliffe's task may be insurmountable. Since the midterm elections -- a fundraising period that typically is slower than pre-election fundraising -- the Republicans buried the Democrats in hard money raised. The RNC took in $11 million. The DNC $2.2 million.

In the Senate, Republicans raised about $1.3 million. The Democrats. Well, they raised $700,000 -- this on top of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee being $6 million in the hole. Maybe new chairman Jon Corzine can float it a loan.

In the House, the National Republican Campaign Committee outpaced its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $7 million to $1.7 million.

"We'll catch up a little bit, but this just shows how far ahead in hard money donors Republicans are, and how badly we were indebted to our soft money people," says a Democratic National Committee staffer, who says that McAuliffe did not want to discuss the disparity in fundraising over the weekend while DNC delegates were in town.

Rumors continue that Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta, who has been suffering through back problems for months now, with a number of stints in the hospital, will step aside in the coming few weeks. No word on a possible replacement, although both current Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson campaigned for that job during the 2001 Bush transition.

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