RNC raises $7M in March, but remains $19.8M in the hole

The Republican National Committee (RNC) reduced its debt by a little more than $1 million in March and raised $7 million in the last month of the first fundraising quarter.

The party reduced its debt from from $21 million to $19.8 million last month, it announced Tuesday, the first time it's been below $20 million this year.

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The RNC also said it raised a total of $15.7 million during the first quarter of 2011 and emerged with $3.2 million cash on hand, up from $2.1 million in February.

The new figures show that the committee is gradually chipping away at its massive debt load left by former RNC chairman Michael Steele as the party gears up for the 2012 presidential campaign. The new chairman, Reince Priebus, began his tenure with $24 million in debt. 

Priebus has also put a premium on repairing the RNC's relationship with major donors. 

According to the party, major donors giving over $15,000 contributed $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2011, surpassing their contributions from the first two quarters of 2010 and 2009 combined ($1.94 million) and all of 2009.

Moving forward, the RNC's fundraising efforts will be spearheaded by new national finance chairman Ron Weiser, who assumed his new role last week.