If it's about the money, there's a place to find more

Barron's says cash will keep the GOP in control of both houses of Congress.

Published October 23, 2006 5:00PM (EDT)

A lot of Democrats think they're due for a party come November, but an analysis from Barron's is dumping rain on any premature parades. Judging candidates by bankrolls rather than opinion polls, Barron's Jim McTague says the Republicans will hang on to at least small majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Barron's looked at every House and Senate race in the country and made predictions based almost exclusively on which candidate has the most money to spend between now and Nov. 7. The resulting projection: At most, the Democrats pick up 14 seats in the House and three seats in the Senate -- one seat and three seats short, respectively, of what they need to take control. Can you really judge races by looking solely at money? McTague says yes. The candidate with the most money to spend has won 93 percent of all House races since 1972, he says, and Barron's method correctly predicted that the Republicans would pick up seats in Congress in 2002 and 2004.

Assuming, for the moment, that Barron's is right, is there anything that Democrats can do about it now? There is. At MyDD, Chris Bowers is leading an effort to cajole Democrats in safe districts into coughing up money for would-be colleagues in more competitive races. By Bowers' count, Democrats in 70 safe districts are sitting on more than $50 million in campaign contributions. If each were to give 30 percent of his or her holdings to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or to individual candidates, the Democrats would enjoy a $15 million boost in the final two weeks of the campaign.

If safe-district Democrats pony up, Bowers says, they'll increase their odds of taking the House in November and win the "adoring love of the netroots." That's the carrot. There's also a stick: "If they do not this give this money, it will become more difficult to achieve a House majority, and they might also face some recurring questions about why they did not give when our candidates needed it the most, and when our target list was deeper than it has been in a generation," Bowers writes. "If they don't give and we don't win a majority then, well, that will really look bad in the future."

By Tim Grieve

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

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