For the Democrats, a deal on the money

The RNC will spend nearly $60 million on the midterm elections. Can the Democrats keep up?

Published September 13, 2006 4:10PM (EDT)

Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel have worked out a deal whereby Dean's Democratic National Committee will pump $60,000 into each of 40 House races deemed most competitive by Emanuel's Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, represents something of a truce in the philosophical disagreement between the two men. Dean, focused on building the Democratic Party over the long term, generally favors investing the DNC's money in all 50 states, even those where there's virtually no chance that Democrats will win seats in the immediate future. Emanuel, focused on taking back the House this year, generally wants the DNC money spent where it will help the most now. Emanuel wanted Dean to spend $20 million on House races this year; under the deal they've reached, the DNC will spend $12 million to get out the vote in November.

On the Senate side, Dean is still in negotiations with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

ABC suggests that the dispute between Dean and Emanuel has become so charged that Tuesday's deal had to be reached through surrogates: the DNC's Tom McMahon for Dean, the DCCC's Karin Johanson for Emanuel. The Hill says it may have taken House Democratic Caucus chairman James Clyburn to bring the sides together. But the Hill also takes note of a reality that may have forced the men to deal. Ken Mehlman's RNC is apparently prepared to spend nearly $60 million on the midterm elections this fall -- almost $44 million it has on hand now, plus $15 million more it expects to raise before Election Day.

The DNC has just $11.3 million in the bank today, the Hill says, but it's expecting the AFL-CIO to spend $40 million on get-out-the-vote operations. And as the Wall Street Journal reports, the Democrats' House and Senate committees are "well funded." Schumer's DSCC has "outraised" Sen. Elizabeth Dole's National Republican Senatorial Committee and plans to spend $30 million this year in states with competitive Senate races.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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