By JIM KUHNHENN
National Democratic Party committees closed a fundraising gap with their Republican counterparts in June, raising more money and improving their cash on hand, according to reports filed Thursday.
The data is the latest sign that that neither party would hold a financial edge in this year’s contest for control of Congress.
The Republican National Committee was the only one of the three party groups to best the Democrats, reporting $44.7 million in the bank compared with $10.8 million for the Democratic National Committee.
But the campaign organizations for Senate and House Democrats combined to hold a $23 million edge over the Republicans’ comparable committees.
Financial standing heading into the November elections is an important test of the parties’ strength. The committees, particularly the four congressional ones, will play crucial roles in close House and Senate races.
"More money in the bank means more resources to help spread our message of change," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who heads the Democrats’ Senate committee.
GOP strategists say Republican candidates as a whole are better financed than their Democratic challengers.
"Targeted incumbent Republicans have $22 million more than their challengers, and Democrats must defend three competitive open seats and four vulnerable incumbents," said Brian Nick, spokesman for the GOP Senate committee. "Seems like they will be spread pretty thin."
The Democrats’ Senate committee, in the latest reports to the Federal Election Commission, said it raised $8.8 million in June and had $37.7 million in the bank.
Its GOP counterpart raised $4.8 million and had $19.8 million in the bank.
For the House, the Democrats’ committee took in $9.8 million compared with $9.5 million for the Republicans. The Democratic committee reported $31.9 million in the bank compared to $26.5 million for the Republicans, who have historically led in that category.
This edge was the first since changes in campaign finance law in 2002 eliminated unlimited contributions known as "soft money."