Dean's DNC Continues to Lose Relevance in Democratic Politics

The Washington Post recently ran a piece highlighting the fact that the Democrats’ Congressional Committee is at parity with the Republicans in cash on hand and that their Senatorial Committee has doubled up the NRSC in cash on hand (although the two have raised about the same amount).

This is all true, and it is not good for Republicans. However, there has been some exaggeration as to just how bad it is.

The committees’ success is partly, but not entirely, the result of Democratic fundraising prowess. It has just as much to do with the fact that the Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean is becoming an institution with which many Democratic donors will not entrust their cash.

Whereas Republican committees are actually competing with the high-dollar RNC (which raises more than half of all GOP committee cash), the Democrats have no such competition from Dean (whose committee has raised less than 40 percent of the Democrats’ committee cash). The DNC in March (see chart) raised less than either of the two other committees — itself an historical oddity.

That is not to say that this is a bad thing for Democrats. Indeed, the DNC has been notoriously ineffective in the last three election cycles, essentially the plaything of whoever has headed it, without a clear aim toward helping the party win elections. This hasn’t all been Dean’s fault — recall the millions Terry McAuliffe spent trying to topple Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in Florida in 2002 and on other futile races.

The DCCC and DSCC, headed by members of the House and Senate, appear more motivated to improve the party’s situation in those bodies. They are also safe places for Democratic supporters of Israel, wary of Howard Dean, to send their money.

Party Committee Fundraising, Jan. 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006


Mar. 2006

Through Mar. 2006

Total Spent













Democrats Total
















Republicans Total