Wednesday, December 6, 2006


In a preliminary analysis of '08 Senate candidates' campaign finances, Democrats enjoy an early financial advantage. It is widely expected that all twelve Democratic incumbents will seek re-election to their seats, leaving no open seats to defend. That alone is a great financial advantage compared to the Republicans who will have to defend 21 seats overall, with as many as four possible open seats to defend due to retirements.

Of the eleven Democratic incumbents, at of the end of September, their total cash on hand is $12,773,450 or an average of $1,064.454. Not taken into account of these totals are two things. First, Sen. Frank Lautenberg has a debt of $1,090,000 that is not a part of the overall numbers. Also, Sen. John Kerry has $13,807,188 left in his Presidential Campaign account. It is unclear if he can/would transfer this entire amount to his Senate campaign. In recent days, it has been speculated that he is moving further away from a campaign for President.

On the Republican side, the total cash on hand for their 21 Senators is $20,153, 373 or an average of $953,112. Not taken into account in this calculation is a debt of $1,536,802 carried by Sen. Gordon Smith of OR's campaign.

The more interesting numbers are the Republican incumbents who potentially face serious challenges from Democrats in '08 or the potential retiring incumbents. For those purposes, I have included these Republicans in those categories:

Potential Retirements: Wayne Allard, CO; Elizabeth Dole, NC; Pete Domenici, NM; John Warner, VA

Potentially Weak Incumbents: Lamar Alexander, TN; Thad Cochran, MS; Norm Coleman, MN; Larry Craig, ID; John Sununu, NH

The total that these nine Senators have in the bank is $5,573,278 or an average of $508,142.

If you include two more factors in this preliminary analysis, the picture gets more grim for the Republicans. The Republicans likely face a more difficult challenge to retire the debt at the National Republican Senatorial Committee than do the Democrats at the DSCC. It will also face the daunting task of assisting in nearly twice as many campaign as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Also, a large majority of the Democrats running for re-election either serve in the Leadership, enjoy a Committee Chairmanship, or have influential Subcommittee Chairmanships. This will further aid them in individual fundraising efforts.

Check back at News For the Left for further analysis of individual races over the next several days.