When Republicans took over the House in a stunning 2010 landslide, it seemed a given that money would rain down on the newly ascendant party.
But Democrats dominated the cash dash in 2011, with the party’s campaign arm consistently outpacing its GOP counterpart. And during last year’s fourth quarter, more than a dozen upstart Democratic candidates outraised the incumbent Republicans they’re hoping to unseat — an early indication that momentum is shifting in the challengers’ direction.
Republicans say they are confronting several challenges on the fundraising front, including:
• A new campaign money world where outside groups like American Crossroads are regarded by donors as the new hot thing. American Crossroads, which spent heavily on House races during the midterms, has set a goal of raising and spending $240 million in 2012 — an astonishing sum.
• A Republican presidential primary that has distracted party donors — many of whom are focusing on winning the White House.
• An 87-member freshman class that accounts for nearly a third of the House GOP conference that has been resistant to coughing up for the NRCC. Officials say many members are waiting for redistricting and their 2012 prospects to become clearer before they donate to the committee. In December, the House GOP campaign arm received donations from just eight freshmen. “We have a lot of new members who aren’t used to having to cut checks for the team,” said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a former NRCC chairman.
• A Democratic Party that has been enormously successful in its push for cash, with a House minority leader in Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is among the most aggressive fundraisers in all of politics. Since Jan. 1, 2011, Pelosi has raised an eye-popping $25.6 million for DCCC and has held 408 events in 36 cities.