Democratic Party Lags in Money Before Presidential Year

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -

The Democratic National Committee barely has more cash than it does IOUs, and it is being outraised month after month by its Republican competitor.

Its $24 million debt from the 2012 presidential election, only recently paid down, has squeezed investments in the next White House race. Underdeveloped party resources such as voter data files could become a serious disadvantage for the eventual nominee, particularly if that person is not Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, as front runner, would enter a general election contest with her own outreach network.

Those fundraising realities are top priorities for Democratic officials, donors and activists this weekend in Minneapolis. Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island are scheduled to speak to attendees Friday.

Federal Election Commission reports tell a disappointing story for the party: The DNC collected $36.5 million in the first six months of the year and had almost no money in special accounts, including one designated for its convention. It had about $7.6 million in available cash and $6.2 million in debts and loans.

The Republican National Committee, coming out of years in the red, posted $63 million in receipts through June, leaving it with $16.7 million cash on hand and $1.8 million in debts and loans. Party fundraising dominance has flipped: At this point before the 2012 election, the DNC was outpacing the RNC.