Thursday, October 19, 2006

Campaigns Borrowing Money

I've alluded to the point that Democrats have taken out a loan to help fund Senate races. The Hotline's Chuck Todd reports that those funds are intended primarily to help Jim Webb and Robert Menendez:

DNC Takes Out Loan For DSCC

The DSCC's optimism about winning the Senate is apparently contagious as the DNC is going to pony up an extra $5-10M for the Senate committee, according to sources familiar with the previously reported arrangement between the two campaign orgs.

While the DNC doesn't have $10M to just toss around to another campaign committee, the DNC apparently has decided to go into debt to come up with the extra cash DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer has been pleading for from DNC Chair Howard Dean. The actual amount of the loan the DNC is taking out is not known as the committee holds out hope they can raise nearly everything they need before the election. But a line of credit has been opened.

The money is not designated for specific Senate races, however, sources tell us that two races in particular were used as leverage in negotiations between the DSCC and the DNC. Those two races: New Jersey and Virginia. Apparently the extra DNC money will help soften the financial blow the DSCC was taking by incurring the extra cost of saving Sen. Bob Menendez from the challenge of Republican Tom Kean Jr. as well also trying to target Virginia. New Jersey and Virginia sport three of the most expensive media markets in the country (NYC, Philly and DC). In addition, TN was also a factor in the DNC-DSCC discussions as the investment the DSCC is making is possibly more than they expected.

A national party committee taking out a loan toward the end of an election cycle is not unusual, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle. In '04, the DCCC took out a loan in an attempt to save the Texas Democratic House incumbents. In the end, four of those five Texas Democratic incumbents lost.

There has been some speculation (driven a bit by Democratic pundits like James Carville) that the DCCC might take out another loan this cycle in order to spend money on some of these new House seats that have come into play over the last few weeks.

The RNC is proving to be an important cog to the Republicans' efforts to hold the House and Senate, particularly the Senate. It's been something that's gotten under the skin of Schumer and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel. It'll be interesting to see if Dean's decision to go into debt will finally get Schumer and Emanuel off his back. [CHUCK TODD]

As a Virginian, I suspect that the money on Webb will wind up being poorly spent. No matter how well the Democrats may do this year, I don't think they'll be able to beat George Allen - unless something new pops up. I'm hopeful that New Jersey voters will finally reject a criminal running for office, and vote Kean.

Of course, if the Democrats win one chamber of Congress, they'll be able to raise the money to repay this loan. So it might be a good bet.

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