The two largest political party committees are stockpiling record amounts of cash ahead of the 2022 midterms and laying the groundwork for an expensive 2024 clash.
The Democratic National Committee raised $63.7 million through the first four months of 2021, more than twice as much as it raised over the same period after the 2016 election. The DNC had $56.3 million in the bank through April, six times its 2017 total. The Republican National Committee raised $57.6 million through April and ended the month with a whopping $90.5 million in the bank. The RNC reported having twice as much cash on hand as it did during the same point in Donald Trump’s first year in the White House.
That’s according to Federal Election Filings released in May. The influx of donations to the top political parties is another data point indicating that the next two elections could be even more expensive than the last two record-breaking contests. Congressional candidates are also setting new fundraising benchmarks to start the 2022 cycle.
The 2020 presidential candidates loom large over their parties’ finances. President Joe Biden isn’t raising money for a potential reelection campaign like Trump did four years earlier, but he’s appearing in countless DNC fundraising appeals to boost the party’s bottom line. The DNC raked in $26.5 million from small donors giving $200 or less online through April.
“The DNC will be essential in making sure we can keep electing Democrats up and down the ticket who are committed to enacting Kamala [Harris]’s and my agenda in the years to come — and they’re facing a big deadline tonight at midnight,” Biden was quoted as saying in an April 30 fundraising email.
The DNC said it had one of its best fundraising days when Biden delivered his first address to Congress. Biden’s win, coupled with increased grassroots enthusiasm, has helped the DNC avoid accumulating millions of dollars in debt as it did after previous presidential elections. Biden’s billion-dollar campaign — which raised more than it could spend — is also pitching in. The Biden Victory Fund has transferred $7.5 million of its leftover money to the DNC this year.
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, who took over the post in January after an unsuccessful 2020 Senate bid, has promised to provide more support for state parties that have mostly been used to funnel extra cash to the DNC. Harrison announced earlier this month that the DNC will send $23 million to state parties — including committees in GOP-controlled states — for the 2022 midterms. The DNC also has its eyes on 2024, reportedly gathering opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates, including Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The RNC has enjoyed a fundraising advantage over the DNC since Trump took office. The RNC relied on Trump’s joint fundraising committees to raise an unprecedented $890.5 million in the 2020 cycle. The RNC couldn’t spend all of its money before Election Day, ending the year with $80.5 million on hand. Trump’s RNC used a loophole in campaign finance law to bring in nearly $72 million in additional money from state parties.
Trump is no longer raising money for GOP committees, instead telling donors to bankroll his leadership PAC, Save America PAC, and his newly formed super PAC. But the RNC continues to use Trump’s name in fundraising appeals to draw in grassroots donors, taking advantage of the former president’s resilient popularity with Republican voters.
“There was this pregnant pause around the impeachment and Jan. 6 riot, that was ‘Trump was toxic and Trump doesn’t want us to use his name.’ But we’ve now reverted back to the past five years, where Trump is the biggest name in Republican politics. He’s the best name at bringing in money and we need to lean into that,” GOP donor Dan Eberhart told Politico last week.
Trump is considering running for president in 2024, but he’s said he may wait to announce his decision until after the 2022 midterms. Forty-eight percent of Republican voters preferred Trump as the 2024 nominee, according to a recent poll from Morning Consult and Politico.