Senate Dems saddled with campaign debt

Senate Democrats staggered into 2011 with their campaign committee carrying almost $10 million in debt from the past election cycle.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, has less debt but also less cash on hand. The NRSC had only $118,316 banked as of the start of the year, with $6.5 million in debt. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had $753,595 banked, but started the year with $8.88 million in liabilities.

Democratic officials were quick to point out they out raised their GOP counterparts by almost $15 million in the 2010 campaign cycle.

"One of the reasons we were able to beat back the Republican wave last cycle is because we outraised the other side," Guy Cecil, executive director of the DSCC, said in a statement. "Despite Republicans enjoying national momentum, we were able to amass the resources needed to wage aggressive campaigns in targeted states. Our supporters know what's at stake in 2012 and stand ready to fight."

Still, the DSCC is under pressure to best last cycle's fundraising performance because of the greater number of seats they have to defend in 2012. Democrats have 23 senators up next year, while the GOP only has 10 seats up for grabs. Republicans need a net gain of at least three seats to take control of the upper chamber. 

Republicans boasted they won seven Senate seats last year without losing one of their own.

"It's amusing, to say the least, to see Senate Democrats cite their fundraising as the reason they only lost seven seats when their previous fundraising advantage was eroded by $57 million in the 2010 cycle, despite having far more Senators and the fundraiser-in-chief in the White House," Rob Jesmer, NRSC executive director, said in a statement.

Both campaign committees spent more than they raised in December. The DSCC took in $2.48 million and spent $2.44 million. The NRSC raised $2.32 million and spent $2.72 million.