High burn rate continues to dog RNC

The committee, which hemorrhaged about $15 million in 2009 while winning two key governor's races, slipped back into the red in February, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) report filed Saturday. The committee raised just less than $7.7 million and spent slightly more than that, seeing its cash on hand decline from $9.48 million to $9.46 million.

While the drop is minimal, early in the year is a key time for the committee to stock away money for a big election in which it hopes to lead the party to big gains. The GOP's House campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), outraised its Democratic counterpart in February but is still at a major cash on hand disadvantage and could use the help of the main party committee.

GOP strategists have gradually begun expressing more and more concern about the RNC's inability to build a warchest. Despite raising good money, the committee has spent heavily on consultants and direct mail. It turned the corner in January a bit, winning a big special Senate election in Massachusetts and raising about $1 million more than it spent, but February showed the committee is still struggling to save money.

On the Democratic side, the DNC raised $7.4 million in February, spent $6.9 million, and had $10.7 million in the bank. It had $3.7 million in debt. While the cash on hand figures are similar, the RNC began the election cycle in a far superior financial situation.

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