Republicans trying to hold onto the House raised $12.5 million in July, outpacing Democrats by a 3-to-1 margin but leaving the GOP just $1 million ahead in cash on hand.

The influx of money — largely from political action committees — gives Republicans a slight advantage more than two months before the November elections. Democrats hope to gain 15 seats to seize control of the House.

The NRCC has raised $70 million so far and has $34.1 million in the bank. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $4.2 million in July, taking the group’s total to $81 million this cycle and $33 million cash on hand.

“Our phenomenal fundraising in July is the product of our members’ hard work and the support of Americans who want leaders with a record of accomplishment and a positive vision moving forward,” Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement. “It stands in sharp contrast to the Democrats, who spent the month of July raising dollars by exploiting the deaths of U.S. soldiers.”

Democrats lagged behind Republicans by $6.4 million in July 2004, a gap it has narrowed to about $1 million this cycle. Most of the GOP’s income — $9 million of the $12.5 million — came from political action committees.

“Americans demand change from the Republican status quo in Washington and they’re speaking with their pocket books, in record numbers,” said Bill Burton, a DCCC spokesman.

In the Senate, the Democrats’ campaign organization enjoys a $14.5 million advantage in cash on hand. The party needs to gain six seats to win majority control.

“The upshot is that we have the financial resources we are going need,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman. “We can get our message out to voters.”

The DSCC raised $4.2 million during July, outpacing its GOP counterpart’s $3.3 million. It also raised $77.2 million so far this cycle and has $35.1 million in the bank.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has raised $65.9 million this cycle and has $20.6 million on hand.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign, meanwhile, said the national effort is only part of the midterm spending.

“As of the end of the quarter, our incumbents they’re targeting had a $24 million cash advantage,” said committee spokesman Brian Nick. “We’re right where we need to be.”

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press