GOP hopefuls raise support, fewer funds

By David Sands, The Washington Times

In some key races that may decide control of Capitol Hill this fall, it’s coming down to a battle of Democratic money versus Republican momentum.

With candidates and party organizations reporting their second-quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission last week, some top Democratic incumbents have run up big money advantages over their GOP opponents, but the polls suggest that may not be enough to save them in November.

In Arkansas, for example, embattled incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat, reported raising $2.7 million in the second quarter and had $1.9 million in the bank as of June 30, compared with $623,000 raised and $484,000 cash on hand for Republican challenger Rep. John Boozman.

But that bankroll edge hasn’t helped Mrs. Lincoln‘s cause — an average of four recent polls puts her down by 20 percentage points against Mr. Boozman.

Republicans argue that the Democratic money edge isn’t surprising — incumbents typically have a clear fundraising edge, and Democrats now control the White House and both houses of Congress — and won’t be decisive in the fall.

“We learned in 2006 that money isn’t everything,” Rep. Pete Sessions, Texas Republican and the party’s point man for House races this fall, told reporters last week. He noted that GOP candidates and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which he now heads, had a sizable fundraising edge over Democrats that year but still lost control of the House of Representatives after 12 years in the majority.

Still, in state after state, the 2010 midterm elections present an almost clinical test of the power of money to affect the results at the ballot boxes. With history, punditry and a rising number of polls pointing to major Republican gains, money may prove the last line of defense for Democrats.

“Democrats continue to hold a healthy cash-on-hand advantage in many key states,” said J.B. Poersch, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

• In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has rebounded in the polls while reporting a $7.1 million cash-on-hand advantage ($8.9 million versus $1.8 million) over former GOP state legislator Sharron Angle. Many in Nevada see Mr. Reid‘s cash edge as the key reason he has kept the race competitive despite plunging popularity ratings in the state earlier this year.

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