Republicans, Democrats report record cash totals in fight for N.H. Senate majority
Both of the Republican and Democratic committees dedicated to winning the New Hampshire Senate majority this fall reported a record amount of cash on hand to the secretary of state’s office yesterday, an indicator that this year’s fight for the Senate could get expensive.
The Republican Senate Majority PAC has raised $185,271 so far this election cycle, with $27,000 being transferred from last cycle’s committee, and has $156,727 cash on hand, its highest total ever. The New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus, by comparison, raised $269,000 and has $148,000 cash on hand, its own record total. Online reports dating back to 2002 back up both parties’ statements that these cash-on-hand totals are record breaking. Reports for all political committees were due to the secretary of state’s office yesterday, and the full filings, including who’s donated and where money has been spent, should be available online later this week.
Both parties say the record totals show they’re poised for victory this fall. Republicans hold the majority in the 24-member Senate now with 13 seats. Senate Democrats made significant gains in 2012, taking their membership in the 24-member Senate from five to 11. But they were unable to capture the full wave that swept Democrats into the House majority.
“Even though we’ve only been at this for a short period of time, our leadership team did a fantastic job in raising resources and in producing a strong slate of candidates for the upcoming elections. It’s a good start. Looking forward, I remain as committed and focused as ever in maintaining, protecting and growing our Senate Majority,” Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican, said in a statement.
Candidates and state parties don’t have to file reports until August, but the Democratic Party said that, as of now, its total fundraising between the committee and the candidates tops $1 million.
“It’s clear that we have the momentum, and we have the strongest candidates. Now, we also have a historic amount of cash on hand. There is no doubt that New Hampshire families across the state are saying ‘enough is enough, it’s time for Democratic leadership in the Senate,’ ” Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement.
The totals so far show that Democrats are spending at a much faster rate than Republicans. The Republican committee has spent just $28,500 so far compared with the Democrats’ $121,000.
It’s no secret that national campaigns are becoming more and more expensive, particularly in the wake of several U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have weakened campaign finance regulations. But that increased spending is trickling down to statewide and even local campaigns. In statewide races, more money usually translates into a more professional campaign, said Dean Spiliotes, a civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University and a longtime New Hampshire political observer. Smaller campaigns are also becoming more nationalized, which means outside groups may seek influence in statewide races, too.
Typically, campaigns and committees spend money on things like voter outreach through field operations, such as organizing volunteers to knock on your door and through campaign materials. New technology is also making voter targeting easier, allowing the parties and campaigns to focus outreach efforts on the people who are most likely to respond.
The Democratic Party says several of its candidates are already posting impressive fundraising totals. Sen. David Watters of Dover has already raised $53,000, which is near the high end of what Senate candidates usually raise during an entire cycle. Richard Leonard, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Sam Cataldo, has raised $30,000, which is more than the $23,000 he raised during the entire 2012 election cycle.
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)