Reporting from Washington — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in September, an advantage that will likely be blunted by spending from outside groups that heavily favor the GOP.
In the fierce battle for control of the House of Representatives, each party's committee reported one of its best-ever months for fund-raising. The Democratic committee brought in $15.9 million in September, leaving it with $41.6 million to spend through election day.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee said it raised $11.2 million last month, which it said was its best performance since 2006.
As quickly as the money comes in, it is being spent. The Republican committee, for instance, has ramped up its television advertising and expanded its map of Democratic targets. The party says it is set to spend $50 million on ads in at least 65 districts.
Democrats already have spent $17 million on television advertising and will spend another $40 million through election day on television. Another $20 million will be spent on voter contact and get-out-the-vote efforts, the committee says.
That means Republicans will have an advantage in terms of television spending just at the committee level. With outside groups planning to spend another $50 million against Democratic candidates, the majority party threatens to be overwhelmed in the coming weeks.
Democrats long thought their financial advantage would help mitigate Republican gains. But the party now finds itself cutting support for incumbents it sees as having little chance of overcoming deficits.
One, first-term Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus, is appealing to his supporters for an influx of cash after the Democratic committee announced it was canceling plans to pay for TV time in the closing weeks.
Democrats say Republican-leaning third-party groups will have spent nearly $60 million on congressional races through election day, and possibly more. President Obama, who has railed against those groups that do not disclose their donors, plans several fundraisers in the coming weeks for House Democrats as part of an extended campaign swing.
The respected nonpartisan Cook Political Report has now revised its House forecast to show Republicans gaining up to 50 seats.
"This year is shaping up to be something of a repeat of the 52-seat House and eight-Senate-seat loss rout of Democrats in 1994," Charlie Cook wrote this week.