Republicans Are Running Out of Money

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on April 20, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. She recently said funding would return to the national party once it had picked a presidential nominee. © David McNew/Getty Images

The amount of money on hand for expenditure by the Republican National Committee (RNC) at the end of November was the lowest it has had at that stage in any year since 2016, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

In a filing on Wednesday, the GOP governing body revealed it had $9.96 million to spend as of November 30, which is less than half what it had to work with when Donald Trump was contesting his first presidential election.

In comparison, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reported more than $20 million in cash on hand on the same day. Both parties’ committees have witnessed a decline in the amount of money available to them since 2021, but the RNC’s balance has been roughly half that of its counterpart in the last two reporting periods.

On Thursday, Newsweek emailed the RNC for comment.

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The data provide a snapshot of each party’s finances each year, and the amount of cash they had between those reporting dates may have been higher or lower. While pundits focused on the impact of donations, the FEC reports also show each party’s expenditure levels.

According to the annual disclosures, the DNC had continually smaller cash funds than the RNC until 2021, when its funding increased. The RNC’s funds increased from $21.35 million after the 2016 election to roughly $40 million at the conclusion of Trump’s first November in office.

After dropping slightly, the RNC’s usable finances more than doubled in the run-up to the 2020 election, and also saw their highest point in the eight-year period in 2021, with $65.47 million in cash on hand.

However, since then, it has seen a steep decline in funds, with just $17.28 million after the midterm elections in 2022. In October this year, it reported a cash balance of just $9.12 million—the lowest since 2015.

While some party activists have described it as an inexplicable contraction in revenue from donors, others have blamed the party’s recent electoral record for having “demoralized” the GOP base.

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When the Washington Post reported on the drop in November, Patti Lyman, an RNC member from Virginia, said: “The RNC’s electoral record since 2017 speaks for itself.”

In the 2018 Midterms, the Democrats made a net gain of 41 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them a majority that persisted until 2022. Trump lost the 2020 election, and while Republicans regained the House in 2022, a widely anticipated red wave did not occur.

However, Oscar Brock, an RNC member from Tennessee, told the Post: “We’re going through the same efforts we always go through to raise money: the same donor meetings, retreats, digital advertising, direct mail. But the return is much lower this year. If you know the answer, I’d love to know it.”

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At the time, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel suggested that party donors were focusing on financing their preferred presidential candidates rather than the party as a whole, and foresaw this as changing once the party had selected a nominee in July.

“There’s nothing unusual about this, because they know that once their candidate gets in that we will merge and that we’ll be working together to win the White House,” she said.

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SOURCE: Newsweek

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