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GOP cash woes threaten House bids

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With the Republican Party on the cusp of major gains in the House next year — and with the dream of retaking the House appearing to be a real, if improbable, possibility — one major obstacle remains: tightfisted Republican incumbents. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the key cog in helping to finance GOP campaigns, has banked less than a third as much money as its Democratic counterpart and is ending the year with barely enough money to fully finance a single House race — no less the dozens that will be in play come 2010. A big part of the problem, according to Republican strategists, is that GOP members themselves — the ones who stand the most to gain from large-scale House gains — haven’t chipped in accordingly, despite evidence of solid opportunities in at least 40 districts next year and with as many as 80 seats in play, according to the Cook Political Report’s estimates. In the past three months, only 75 of 177 Republicans — most of whom represent safe districts — transferred money into the committee, netting it $2.1 million. The average donation was just $28,000, with only 11 members donating $50,000 or more during that time period. During that same time period, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has netted nearly $4 million from 90 of its members — with 35 House Democrats chipping in at least $50,000. Republicans are already expressing concerns that they may not have enough resources to fully take advantage of the political climate, which is shaping to be the most favorable for the GOP since the last time they took control of the House in 1994.

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