Capitol Hill Buzz: GOP, Dems raise cash for '16 House races

AP News
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Posted: Feb 20, 2015 4:30 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's nice to raise several million dollars. It's sobering to realize that's just a drop in a very, very big bucket.

On Friday, the House Democratic and Republican campaign organizations announced their fundraising figures for January as each starts amassing cash for next year's congressional elections.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported that it raised $6.4 million last month. That exceeded the National Republican Congressional Committee's $4.4 million.

That gave Democrats $6.9 million in cash but a $10 million debt. The GOP committee had $3.6 million in cash and $7.5 million in debt.

To put that in perspective, the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics says nearly $1 billion was spent on 2014 House races.

The Democratic committee spent $206 million and the GOP committee spent $154 million on those contests. Those expenditures were eclipsed by the candidates themselves and outside ideological, business and labor groups.

Republicans are expected to retain House control in the 2016 elections.

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Does Russ Feingold want his old job in the Senate back?

The State Department said Friday that the former three-term Democratic senator from Wisconsin is leaving his post as a special envoy in Africa next month. And it just so happens that the man who ousted Feingold from the Senate in 2010, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, is up for re-election next year.

Johnson defeated Feingold by about 100,000 votes out of 2.1 million votes cast in 2010. That was an off-year election that proved to be a banner year for Republicans as conservatives opposed to President Barack Obama's health care low flocked to the polls.

Next year's elections could be different. Democratic turnout tends to improve in years when the White House is at stake, and Democrats in Washington are eager to recruit strong candidates as they try capturing Senate control next year.

Feingold, 61, has been special envoy for the great lakes region of Africa and Congo since June 2013.

There was no immediate comment from the State Department or from Progressives United, a political action committee he founded in 2011, on his next move.