WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats’ campaign operation on Friday said it borrowed $10 million for a last-minute boost to their fundraising, as officials see their majority increasingly in peril and Republicans gaining momentum.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Each of those races is drawing heavy spending, both from the party-linked campaign committees and their outside allies. Outside groups have now spent almost $314 million to shape the balance of power in the Senate – in addition to the millions spent by the candidates themselves.
At the same time, GOP-leaning super PACs and advocacy groups are spending almost five times as much as the party’s official campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to an analysis from the Campaign Finance Institute.
To counter that, the Democratic National Committee gave its Senate partner, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $1.5 million in recent days and promised total giving would be $5 million by Election Day on Nov. 4. The DSCC also collected $6.5 million from donors between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, collected $10.1 million during the first two weeks of October. Of that, $4 million was from the Republican National Committee. A summary the NRSC released to reporters did not mention a loan.
Committee loans are commonplace during campaigns’ final weeks. Strategists in both parties prefer to have cash at the ready rather than scrambling for last-minute spending. House Republicans’ campaign committee, for instance, has opened a $20 million line of credit that it has not yet tapped.
The Democrats’ Senate operation has consistently out-raised its GOP rivals. Heading into October, the DSCC bested the NRSC in 19 of the 21 months since January 2013 – and all nine months of this year.
The Democrats this cycle have raised about $134 million against the Republicans’ $108 million.
The DSCC said it had $7.8 million in the bank to spend after Oct. 16. The NRSC said it had $10 million.
The major parties and their allies faced a Thursday deadline to file one last round of campaign finance reports before voters will decide 36 Senate races and all 435 House seats. But under Senate rules, candidates and committees focused on that chamber could submit ink-and-paper versions of those reports, resulting in delayed public review – perhaps until after Election Day.
House candidates and super PACs file their reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission. Theirs were available almost instantly.
Democrats are trying to fend off Republicans, who could capture the majority for the first time since 2006’s elections if they can net six Senate seats.