News Guide: Major political parties collect $614 million from donors so far

Associated Press + More

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donors to the campaign committees of the two major parties have forked over at least $614 million so far this election cycle and show no signs of slowing down. That heavy giving will allow the campaign committees to flood voters' televisions with ads, mailboxes with fliers, and phones with calls promoting candidates for House and Senate races.

Federal law required the committees to report no later than Friday how much money they have raised — and, perhaps more telling, how much they have spent.

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DEMOCRATS PAY DOWN DEBT

The Democratic National Committee is making progress at whittling down a once-enormous debt, trimming its red ink to less than $5 million for the first time since mid-2012.

The DNC amassed significant debt as it spent heavily on President Barack Obama's re-election bid in 2012. At the end of July 2012, the DNC reported almost $4.8 million in red ink, but that number ballooned to a high of almost $23 million in March 2013 as bills came due and donors tired of giving.

The DNC has raised $107 million since January 2013, including $8.6 million last month. It still owes $4.9 million vendors who produce campaign ads, mail and data providers.

The party also reported it had $7.9 million in the bank.

The Republican National Committee had not yet filed its reports.

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SENATE DEMS BUY BUILDING, BEST GOP

Senate Democrats' campaign arm borrowed $5.2 million to buy a Capitol Hill home next to its headquarters.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the last 11 years had leased the Mott House, which has campaign committee offices and is a frequent venue for Democratic fundraisers. The campaign committee borrowed the entire purchase price for the property, which is next door to its main headquarters and is steps from the Senate grounds.

The DSCC report also showed it again outraised the National Republican Senatorial Committee, continuing a trend during 15 of the last 17 months.

Democratic donors gave $8.3 million and helped the DSCC save $28.2 million.

GOP donors, meanwhile, gave $5.8 million in May. The committee has saved $22.1 million.

In all, the Senate committees have raised a combined $154 million.

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DESPITE LONG ODDS, HOUSE DEMS TOP GOP

House Democrats' campaign arm last month again outraised Republican rivals despite long odds of ousting the GOP from the majority.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $7.3 million in May while the National Republican Congressional Committee collected $6 million. Democrats' House-oriented committee has now outraised its GOP counterpart in 15 of the last 17 months.

Combined, the committees have raised $241 million this cycle and have banked $81 million, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Those staggering sums, however, might be irrelevant to deciding the balance of power in the House. Redrawn congressional districts after the 2010 census heavily favor Republicans, and the party that holds the White House historically has lost seats in elections at this point in a president's term. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, is very unpopular in many congressional districts.

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HOUSE COMMITTEES START SPENDING

The campaign committees are amassing huge bank accounts and are ready to empty them on ads.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has saved $45.9 million and has booked $44 million in advertising time for November's elections.

The National Republican Campaign Committee has banked $35.2 million. It has reserved $30 million in air time.

Those ad reservations, which have not yet come from the committees' accounts, come on top of the $128 million they've spent this cycle.

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BIG DONORS STILL HAVE SWAY

The Democratic-backing House Majority PAC raised almost $1.8 million in May. Of that, $1 million came from Chicago businessman Fred Eychaner and brought his total giving to the group run by former aides to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to $1.5 million.