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GOP, behind Dems in money race, gets help from Bush

March 12, 2008 | 11:12 pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which has lagged far behind its Democratic counterpart in fundraising this election cycle, went some distance toward closing that gap tonight –- with some help from President Bush.

With Bush headlining this evening's dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, the GOP's House campaign operation reports receipts of more than $8.6 million. The one-night haul exceeds the $6.4 million total cash on hand the party committee reported at the end of January.

Although low in the national polls,President George W. Bush makes remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner held at the Washington Hilton Wednesday March 12 2008 helping raise $8.6 million for congressional campaign coffers Bush remains popular among the party faithful and has raised in excess of $50 million for the party in the last year.

“The Democrats have piled up an abysmal record of broken promises, higher taxes and a liberal agenda that is out of step with the majority of Americans,” said Rep. Tom Cole, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the NRCC. “With the funds raised tonight, we will be able to move forward in our efforts to rebuild a Republican majority.”

The NRCC, which helps find, train and fund Republican congressional candidates, still has a fair distance to go to catch the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which reported $35.5 million cash on hand at the end of January.

The fundraising difference can make a real difference on the ground. Over the weekend in Illinois, the Democrats' ability to match the Republicans dollar for dollar in the 14th Congressional District race helped them wrest former Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat from the GOP in a special election.

--Matthew Hay Brown

Matthew Hay Brown writes for the Swamp for the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau.

Photo credit: KRISTOFFER TRIPPLAAR / EPA

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