Senate campaign committees still staring down debt

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee touted a record-breaking fundraising month Friday, revealing a $2.63 million January total and reporting $2.6 million in cash on hand. 

It's the largest first-month haul in an off-year in the committee's history, but both the DSCC and its Republican counterpart still have to climb out from under sizable debt left over from the 2010 cycle. 

Even with a solid fundraising month for Democrats, the National Republican Senatorial Committee outraised the DSCC by some $200,000 in January. The NRSC raised $2.86 million for the month and reported $483,000 in cash on hand. 

The NRSC mocked the Democrats' January haul Friday afternoon, highlighting the DSCC's $8.7 million debt. That's just over $2 million more than the $6.5 million debt reported by the NRSC. 

NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh argued that despite the DSCC's edge in cash on hand, once you factor in the difference in the debt, "both committees are on similar financial footing."

Democrats have 23 seats to defend in 2012 as they try to hang onto their slim Senate majority. The Friday announcement of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) that he will not run for re-election next year is another early blow, setting up a more competitive open-seat race in that state. 

"Senate Democrats will prevail this cycle by raising the resources needed to wage aggressive campaigns in each of our targeted states," DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said in a statement Friday. "Our supporters are energized when they see Democrats focused on growing jobs and Republicans on everything but."