North Dakota Democrats and North Dakota Republicans take two different tacks when it comes to fundraising, and a lot of it may have to do with the electoral landscape in the state. North Dakota Republicans have a lot of state office holders, and seem to do most of their fundraising directly through candidate committees. The presence of so many incumbent office holders dilutes the flow of money to the party.
Democrats, on the other hand, don’t hold a single state-level, state-wide office and so do most of their fundraising through the state party.
Which is why, in the 2012 election cycle, Democrats outraised Republicans but still managed to lose every single statewide race on the ballot (with the exception of Heidi Heitkamp who managed to hold onto a Senate seat for her party by a slim margin):
But even given those differences in campaign architecture, North Dakota Republicans have reason to be worried in 2014. Comparing party fundraising for 2014 vs. 2012, cycle-to-date, we can see the party is well below where they were in 2011. Through November, the gap is about $31,000.
Democrats, meanwhile, are enjoying a big surge over their 2012 numbers. Through November they’ve raised $132,458 more in the 2014 cycle versus the 2012 cycle:
With Democrat fundraising surging, and NDGOP fundraising lagging, there is a big gap between the two parties so far this cycle:
NDGOP Chairman Bob Harms has found himself in hot water recently with comments about oil regulation in North Dakota, but the larger complaint I’m hearing from North Dakota Republicans is in the fundraising department. Again, it isn’t unusual for the Dems to out-raise the Republicans, and in recent election cycles that advantage hasn’t exactly translated into progress at the ballot box, but when the fundraising gap is this large there is cause for concern.
Especially in what the aggressive Democrat fundraising tells us about liberal enthusiasm in the state.
If Harms loses his job – and there are a lot of Republicans calling for that behind the scenes – fundraising will probably be the bigger problem than the oil tax imbroglio.
For Democrats, of course, having a pile of money is one thing. Having credible candidates to spend it on is quite another. We’re nearing the halfway point in January, and Democrats don’t have an announced House candidate to challenge Rep. Cramer yet, nor a single statewide candidate.