A surge of Republican campaign cash in August, the month that conservatives stormed Democrats' town hall meetings on health care, is generating upbeat media coverage for the party and its national chairman, Michael S. Steele.
The latest fundraising numbers follow recent predictions that Republicans could score significant gains in the 2010 elections. New polling also shows the potential for Republican victories in governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey this fall.
When Maryland's former lieutenant governor became RNC chairman, one of the questions was whether his committee would maintain its fundraising edge. During Steele's tenure, the RNC has collected about $3 million less than the Democratic National Committee. But President Barack Obama has failed to generate the even larger financial edge that many expected.
In August, the RNC raised $1 million more than the DNC, ending the month with about $21 million in the bank and no debt. The DNC had less than half that much, after accounting for debt. And the Senate Republican campaign committee has taken in more money than its Democratic counterpart for two months in a row.
Steele has put almost $3 million into Virginia, where GOP nominee Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds in the governor's race, polls show.
Several longtime Steele consultants have received a total of $360,000 from the RNC this year. That includes $219,000 for On Message Inc., owned by Steele advisers Curt and Wes Anderson. Blaise Hazelwood got $70,000 for her microtargeting company, and Jim Dyke, a South Carolina-based spokesman for Steele during his run for the chairmanship, received more than $59,000 for Web video production and other expenses. Tony Marsh and Lance Copsey, who also helped Steele win the party job, got $14,000 for their firm.