Dems defuse squabble over election spending

The Democratic Party defused a tense internal struggle over how it spends its money by boosting spending on a get-out-the-vote effort for the November elections.

The Democratic National Committee, the party’s overarching organization, agreed to set aside $12 million to mobilize voters on Election Day, with $2.4 million planned for 40 congressional districts that are considered among the most competitive in the country.

The deal for now quiets the infighting between the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over party chairman Howard Dean’s spending priorities. Dean has devoted most of the DNC’s resources to building the party from the ground up, focusing on having strong local and state party organizations.

The congressional committee, led by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., has wanted Dean to put more money into the effort to gain control of Congress, believing this election presents the best opportunity for Democrats to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

“Democrats are unified and prepared to win up-and-down the ballot, all across America this November,” Dean said in a statement. “Building on successful efforts over the past year, we’re in the final stretch and the DNC is making unprecedented investments to ensure that Democrats retake control of Congress and are elected at every level of government.”

The DNC money will complement get-out-the-vote efforts already planned by the DCCC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Labor unions also are planning to spend $40 million to get voters to the polls. And the liberal group is planning to spend about $12 million to mobilize voters.

“We’re happy we’re continuing to move forward,” said DCCC spokesman Bill Burton.