Pelosi To Dems: Open Your Wallets

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants her members to ante up in the aftermath of the Democrats’ big win Saturday in Illinois.

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi is asking House Democrats to dip into their reelection accounts to pledge more money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after the party picked up the Chicago-area seat formerly occupied by her predecessor as speaker, Republican Dennis Hastert.

Democrats currently suffer from an embarrassment of riches of sorts, Pelosi told House Democrats, and party leaders need all the money they can raise in order to compete in the 40 to 50 races they are targeting this cycle.

“At this point,” she said, “we simply cannot afford to fund all the races we will have.”

Twenty-eight Republican retirements and a big special-election win Saturday in the predominantly Republican seat in Illinois have Democrats seeing red — in the form of GOP congressional seats that they believe are within their reach in the fall.

At the end of January, the DCCC had almost $30 million more than the National Republican Congressional Committee, which held its big Washington fundraising dinner Wednesday. The speaker’s letter is part of a push to expand that gap by the March 31 fundraising deadline.

The speaker, quoting newly elected Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), said the campaign committee was essential in the party’s big pickup win. “The DCCC was the cavalry coming over the hill,” Foster said of his win in the Hastert seat. The committee matched the NRCC by spending $1 million in the race.
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