One thing was glaringly obvious throughout 2017 — the Republican Party hammered their Democrat counterparts in fundraising.
Month after month, the Republican National Committee kept breaking fundraising records while the Democratic National Committee broke records, too — for the complete opposite reason.
Altogether, the RNC hauled in $132.5 million in 2017, making it a record-breaking sum for the Republican Party in a non-election year, with the totals expected to be double what the DNC took in, a GOP official told the Washington Examiner.
National Democrats have yet to announce their December numbers, but are expected to do so later this week.
The numbers not only reflect strong donor confidence for the RNC as an institution, but also bode well for chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who took the reins of the RNC after former chairman Reince Priebus left for his short-lived position as White House chief of staff.
The niece of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, McDaniel was previously the the chairwoman of the Michigan GOP and played an instrumental role in delivering the state to then-candidate Donald Trump, the first time Michigan voted for a Republican presidential candidate since President George H. W. Bush in 1988.
“Our strong fundraising numbers reflect voters’ optimism and continued support as President Trump fulfills his promises to the American people,” McDaniel said in a statement regarding December’s numbers.
The RNC finished the last month of 2017 by raking in over $11 million, a strong finish for what was already a stellar year.
On the other hand, the DNC has been experiencing its lowest donor participation in years, taking in record-low levels of contributions that are leaving the organization starved for campaign cash.
In a report to the Federal Election Commission on Dec. 1, the DNC made public that it only had $6.3 million in the bank with several million dollars in outstanding debt. The filings were just the latest in a string of terrible financial news for national Democrats.
November was the party’s worst fundraising month in 10 years. Before that, the DNC posted its lowest October fundraising haul in about 15 years — raking in only $3.9 million. The trend ultimately resulted in making 2017 the worst for DNC fundraising in a non-election year since 2007.
Democrats have tried to turn things around with a change in staff.
After just five months on the job, the DNC fired its finance director, Emily Mellencamp Smith, in November after there were no signs of improvement in the financial situation. However, it appears donors are so averse to opening their checkbooks not because of any shortcomings by Mellencamp, but instead due to the party’s poor image after a disastrous 2016 election cycle.
The DNC was caught red-handed favoring Hillary Clinton over her insurgent rival — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — after documents obtained by WikiLeaks revealed an unethical relationship during the Democrat primary. Unfortunately for the DNC, the problems didn’t end there.
In November, former interim chairwoman Donna Brazile made public the fundraising arrangement between the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 primary, an arrangement that left the party in weak financial standing and closer than it should’ve been to a candidate who had not yet won the nomination.
The entire fiasco, along with losing what many considered a very winnable general election, has made liberal donors unconfident in the party, prompting many of them to bypass the DNC entirely and give directly to candidates they like.
The fundraising disparities could prove game-changing as the 2018 midterms begin to heat up. With the the GOP in control of both houses of Congress, the White House, a record number of gubernatorial seats and state legislative chambers, Democrats essentially have nowhere to go but up.
Fortunately for Republican candidates across the country, they can count on a surplus of campaign cash to boost them to victory.
“The NRCC’s record-breaking fundraising year and $10 million cash on hand advantage is a testament to the grassroots energy behind our historic accomplishments. Millions of Americans have already received bonuses and salary increases as a direct result of tax reform — and we’re just getting started,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin said in a statement to The Western Journal.
The NRCC, the campaign arm for House Republicans, is experiencing record fundraising hauls much similar to the national party. The NRCC raised $85 million last year, a record amount for the committee in a non-election year, and has over $43 million cash on hand.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has proven himself to be a fundraising juggernaut for the GOP since taking over as the Republican leader in the House of Representatives.
The Wisconsin Republican’s joint-fundraising committee, Team Ryan, announced that it raised over $44 million last year, according to a news release. Ryan’s team has used the cash to boost House colleagues, giving the NRCC over $32 million to use for its campaign operations.
Ryan has used his stature as House leader to raise money effectively for his party, having hosted almost 50 fundraising events for GOP caucus members and raised an additional $4.75 million directly into colleagues’ campaign accounts.
“Team Ryan’s record-breaking fundraising means that our members will be able to sell this record of accomplishment to their constituents back home and point out how their achievements are helping everyday Americans,” said Team Ryan finance chairman Spencer Zwick.
“It’s clear from this report that our supporters are engaged and enthusiastic about our prospects in 2018.”
Jason Hopkins is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.
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