The RGA, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is in a “strong financial position” as it defends Republican-held offices in 22 of the 36 contests for governor on the Nov. 4 ballot, executive director Phil Cox told reporters yesterday in Washington.
The committee began this month with $70 million in the bank after raising more than $26 million in the second quarter from donors including billionaires David Koch and Sheldon Adelson, who each gave $2.5 million.
Billionaire Ken Griffin sent $1.5 million to the RGA, bringing his year-to-date donations to about $1.8 million. Billionaire Paul Singer gave $750,000 to the RGA on top of the $500,000 he gave to the group in the first quarter.
Cox spoke at a political briefing that also included representatives of the Republican National Committee and Republican groups that are overseeing fundraising and strategy in the 2014 elections for House, Senate and state legislatures.
Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win a majority in the Senate, where Democrats control 55 of the 100 seats and are grappling with a difficult political environment. In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama trailed Republican challenger Mitt Romney in seven states where Democrats are defending Senate seats this year. In six of those states, Obama’s margin of defeat was more than 13 percentage points.
“So the Democrats have a historical problem, they have a geographical problem. This election is going to be about President Obama,” said Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has raised more in campaign funds than the NRSC in the 2014 election season, and the Democratic group plans to shift tens of millions of dollars to state Democratic groups to lift voter turnout. Fewer voters participate in midterm elections than in presidential elections.
House Republicans are overwhelmingly favored to hold their majority, which presently stands at 234-199, with two vacancies in Democratic districts. Republicans are shooting for as many as 245 seats, said Liesl Hickey, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In state legislative races, Republicans are seeking to “build a farm team and to wipe out the next generation of Democrats,” said Matt Walter, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.
The Republican National Committee is aiding the overall effort by directing staff and volunteers to key states, and improving its political infrastructure and voter-identification efforts after a 2012 election in which Obama’s political operation outperformed Republicans.
“We are in a very good position because we have a motivated base,” RNC chief of staff Mike Shields said.
Democrats have said that Republicans have ignored problems facing middle-class families. Earlier yesterday, House Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California introduced a “Middle Class Jumpstart” platform that included raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
“America, we want you to have a choice: continue the shut-down, do-nothing politics, or move to jumpstart the middle class,” said Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra of California.
“”I feel very certain that we will win the 17 seats we need” to win a 218-seat majority, Pelosi told the Washington Post on July 15.
Yet the party controlling the White House almost always loses ground in Congress in midterm elections. The president’s party has never netted 17 House seats in any midterm election dating to the Civil War.