Republicans Lose Edge on Funding

The news just keep getting worse and worse for the Republicans. Republicans are no longer successful in fooling people into voting for them because of their claims on keeping us safer from terrorism. Bush’s approval remains low in multiple polls. Security Moms are returning to the Democrats. The South is more receptive to Democrats. Support for Republicans is plunging in the heartland. They must write off any hopes in the Northeast. Even K-Street is abandoning the Republicans, believing they are on the verge of losing control of Congess. The Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain describes George Bush as “crap.” Republican commentator Joe Scarborbough asks Is Bush an Idiot? The one thing Republicans typically had going for them has been an edge with regards to funding. The Washington Post reports they are even losing this advantage:

The traditional fundraising advantage held by incumbent lawmakers — which Republicans have regarded as a safety wall in their effort to keep control of Congress — has eroded in many closely contested House races, as many Democratic challengers prove competitive in the race for cash.

In a year of bad omens for the GOP, the latest batch of disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission offers one more: Incumbency no longer means that embattled Republican representatives can expect to overwhelm weakly funded Democratic challengers with massive spending on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

There are 27 Republican incumbents classified by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report as the most vulnerable to losing reelection this fall. These incumbents still boast a clear fundraising edge, but it is much less pronounced than in years past. According to calculations made from FEC data, the Democratic challengers in these races have raised about 60 percent of what their opponents have collected and have about the same percentage of cash on hand.

At this point in the 2004 election cycle, by contrast, Cook listed nine Republican incumbents as similarly vulnerable. Their Democratic opponents had been able to raise 42 percent of what their opponents collected, and challengers’ cash on hand was a lower percentage. There were similar disparities in the 2002 cycle.

Of this year’s 27 most vulnerable incumbents, 14 face challengers who have raised at least $1 million, according to FEC reports. At this point in 2004, no Democratic challenger had raised $1 million. What’s more, all but one of the 27 Democratic challengers has raised at least $400,000 — a figure that many election experts consider a minimum price of entry for candidates hoping to mount a credible campaign. Taking into account all House races, 36 Democratic challengers have cleared the $400,000 threshold.

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