With 37 governor's races coming up this November, the Republican Governor's Association and the Democratic Governor's Association are pulling in big money. The RGA "raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand," CNN reported yesterday. The DGA raised $8 million during the first quarter, setting a new record for the organization, and has $22 million on hand. A DGA press release noted that first-quarter receipts in 2010 exceeded the organization's fundraising during the first six months of 2006.
The RGA and DGA set fundraising records in 2009, with the Republican organization bringing in $30 million and its Democratic counterpart raising $23 million during the off-year. I expect both groups to spend money in Iowa this year.
I'm pleasantly surprised that the DGA has been able to stay so competitive with the RGA's fundraising in 2010. The first couple of months of the year were rocky for Democrats, and many major Republican donors have been fleeing the Republican National Committee for various reasons, including RNC staffers' embarrassing fundraising plans and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. I suspect a lot of contributions that would have gone to the RNC in other years are flowing to the RGA.
Yesterday's press release from the DGA noted:
Since 2006, the DGA has compiled an impressive winning record on targeted races. In the six races where both governors committees have spent at least $500,000, DGA has won four. [...]
The strong first quarter fundraising piggybacks on two consecutive record-breaking years for the DGA and builds on what was already the largest cash-on-hand in organizational history. With $22 million already in the bank, the DGA will spend more on races in 2010 than it spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. Grassroots donors are fired up about the GOP’s redistricting takeover plan and they boosted the DGA tothe $8 million mark with a surge of contributions in the final days of the first quarter.
“Even as we’re raising more than ever before, we’re spending that money wisely,” said Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director. “We’ve trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters – into the races on the ground – and our burn rate is the lowest it’s ever been. We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high – Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power.”
Some of the key redistricting states with competitive gubernatorial elections include California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Iowa will lose a Congressional district after the 2010 census, but our state's governor has little influence over the redistricting process.