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Priebus-led RNC rights the fundraising ship

 

After his election as Republican National Committee chairman a year ago, Reince Priebus inherited an organization that was more than $20 million in debt and that had lost some of its biggest donors.

Additionally, Priebus got off to a slow start; as this author wrote back in July, the RNC under his watch actually raised less in the second quarter of 2011 than the Michael Steele-led RNC did in the second quarter of 2009.

But things have begun to turn around for Priebus on the fundraising front.

After raising just $37.3 million in the first half of 2011, the RNC raised nearly $51 million in the second half -- actually outraising the Democratic National Committee over that same period of time. (However, the DNC outraised the RNC for all of 2011, about $110 million to $88 million.)

What's more, the RNC has cut its debt in half -- from more than $20 million in January to $11.8 million now.

And in a reversal of Steele's biggest shortcoming -- which was spending, not necessarily raising money -- the RNC currently has more than $23 million in the bank as of Jan. 31, compared with the DNC's more than $15 million.

RNC officials point to a few reasons for the turnaround. One, they've lured back some of the big donors who jumped ship during the Steele era. Two, they've been more effective (and cost-effective) in getting grassroots donors to contribute (raising $5.9 million out of its $10.4 million Jan. 2012 from those giving less than $200). And three, they've made a concerted effort to show RNC donors -- both big and small -- the fruits of their labors (like their web videos).

"They want to know we're making the case [against President Obama and the Democrats] every day," RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer tells First Read.

Below is a month-by-month look at the RNC vs. DNC fundraising since Jan. 2011:

Republican National Committee
Jan. 2011: $5.7 million
Feb. 2011: $5.3 million
March 2011: $7.2 million
April 2011: $6.1 million
May 2011: $6.2 million
June 2011: $6.8 million
July 2011: $6.1 million
Aug. 2011: $8.2 million
Sept. 2011: $9.3 million
Oct. 2011: $8.5 million
Nov. 2011: $7.2 million
Dec 2011: $11.6 million
Jan. 2012: $10.4 million

Democratic National Committee
Jan. 2011: $7.2 million
Feb. 2011: $7.1 million
March 2011: $6.7 million
April 2011: $14.0 million
May 2011: $10.5 million
June 2011: $12.2 million
July 2011: $6.9 million
Aug. 2011: $5.4 million
Sept. 2011: $14.7 million
Oct. 2011: $8.0 million
Nov. 2011: $6.7 million
Dec. 2011: $8.9 million
Jan. 2012: $13.3 million