Republican Governors Group Outraises Democrat Counterpart

The Republican Governors Association outpaced its Democratic counterpart during the first six months of 2012, taking in $29 million from January to June, including almost $17 million in the last three months.

The Democratic Governors Association brought in $21 million, including $13 million from April to June.

Both groups issued statements today on their fundraising in advance of their filings later this month with the Internal Revenue Service. Neither reported cash on hand. The two associations also have related nonprofit groups that don’t disclose their donors.

During 2012’s first quarter, the Republican governors group received $1 million from Koch Industries Inc. executive vice president David Koch, and $500,000 each from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the health insurance company Wellpoint Inc. (WLP)

Top donors to the Democratic group from January to March included Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), Oracle Corp. (ORCL), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, each of which donated $200,000.

The two associations are led by chief executives of neighboring states -- Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, a Republican. The groups can contribute directly to gubernatorial candidates and to the state parties, and can advertise in support of their parties’ nominees.

‘Record Resources’

“With record resources and a favorable political map that includes critical battleground states and many pickup opportunities, the RGA is prepared to make a major impact on this year’s elections and expand our majority,” McDonnell said.

Of the 50 state governorships, Republicans hold 29 and Democrats have 20. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is an independent.

In November’s elections, Democrats are defending eight of the 11 governorships on the ballot. Washington-based political analysts Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg rate the North Carolina governorship a good bet to switch from Democratic to Republican. Their three tossup races all involve governors’ offices currently occupied by Democrats: Montana, New Hampshire and Washington state.

“While the electoral map remains challenging in 2012, our tremendous fundraising efforts will ensure the DGA has the resources we need to support Democratic incumbents and candidates to fight for our core priorities, jobs and opportunity, in competitive races,” O’Malley said in a statement.

The Republican governors’ group raised $44 million in 2011, compared with $20 million for the Democrats.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net

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