The Republican Governors Association reported it raised about $24 million in the first half of the year. The RGA’s take far outpaced the Democratic Governors Association, which reportedly raised just over $13 million. The Republican haul relied mainly on donations from individuals, while the Democrats were dependent on corporations, unions, and trade associations. The funding disparity leaves the RGA well positioned for a very competitive cycle next Fall.
Since Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012, Republicans in DC have convinced themselves that the party needs to rebrand itself in a more moderate image. They believe the party’s conservative principles are alienating voters and dampening the party’s appeal. Earlier this year, prominent members of the party establishment endorsed “reasonable” restrictions on gun rights. Currently, it is arguing for an amnesty bill in a misguided bid for hispanic votes.
Outside the Beltway, however, news of the party’s death is greatly exaggerated. The party has rarely been stronger in statehouses across the country. The Republicans currently hold 30 governorships, while the Democrats have just 20. When Barack Obama came to office the situation was reversed.
Republicans control the state legislatures in 26 states, while the Democrats control just 18 states. (The rest have split control, each party holding one chamber.)
More importantly, Republicans in the states are pushing bold, conservative reforms. Tax and spending reform, deregulation, right-to-work and school choice have all been major initiatives of Republicans in the states. This reform agenda was ratified by voters in 2012, when the Republicans maintained almost all of their gains from the 2010 elections.
Perhaps national Republicans groping to understand why their nominee lost in 2012 should look beyond the beltway.