Republicans in first-quarter donations for House races. But that cash
advantage is unlikely to have much effect on the outcome of the 2014
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more money than
its GOP counterpart in the first quarter of 2014. The DCCC, which
focuses on funding for House candidates, pulled in $23.6 million from
January through March, while the National Republican Congressional
Committee took in $21.2 million, according to Federal Election
That leaves the DCCC with a cash-on-hand pile of about $40 million,
clear of debt. The NRCC has about $31 million ready for use in its
“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more in March
than any other committee and more than any other [election-cycle] March in the DCCC’s history,” crowed a committee press release.
Yes, but will this financial advantage help Democrats curtail GOP
gains in November? That’s the $9 million political question of the
Having money is better than not having it, so in that sense it’s
understandable that the DCCC is emphasizing the positive. But in the
end, this edge is unlikely to play more than a minor role in the
outcome of the 2014 midterms.
For one thing, it’s not really that much money, given that these
resources get allocated among many House races. There are probably 10
to 15 truly competitive House contests, plus a bunch that lean one way
or another and might attract some party cash.
And candidates have other money streams. Republican-leaning outside
money groups could easily outspend Democratic counterparts to even the
financial field. That’s one reason Democratic Party leaders have been
complaining about the influence of the wealthy and conservative Koch
But the big problems facing Democrats are structural and political,
not cash-based. A president’s party tends to lose House seats in
midterms. Democratic constituencies such as lower-income and minority
voters are disproportionately likely to have lower turnout in
nonpresidential election years. “Obamacare” is not popular — and
outside groups have been pouring money into ads linking vulnerable
members to the Affordable Care Act (see Koch brothers, above).
Roll all this together, and most prognosticators see the result as
leading to Republican gains in the House. For instance, University of
Virginia political scientists
Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik predict that the GOP will gain five to
eight seats in the fall and expand its current majority.
This isn’t foreordained. Democrats believe they have some technical
advantages over Republicans in terms of get-out-the-vote efforts and
message-targeting technology. That’s what helped put President Obama
over the top in 2012.
But Democratic leaders could pull all these levers and still fall
short in 2014, notes left-leaning blogger Ed Kilgore in The Washington
“That would, however, bode well for 2016, when the winds shift
dramatically on turnout — particularly if Republicans learn the wrong
lessons from easy wins on favorable turf with everything working to
their advantage,” writes Kilgore.
— Christian Science Monitor
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