Chairman says Democrats free of debt
LAS VEGAS (CNN) -- Democrats will perform well in elections this fall because "we've got the candidates, we've got the message and we've got the political trends," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe will say in a speech to the party faithful Saturday.
"And now, we have something we didn't have before -- the institutional muscle, the sophisticated technology, the modern instruments necessary to compete and win in today's political campaigns."
According to an advance copy of the speech, to be delivered to party officials and activists gathered here for a three-day summer meeting, McAuliffe will also announce that the party has erased a $10 million deficit it reported when he took office, marking the first time ever that the party has been debt free.
The financial news comes as a great relief to Democrats, who would have been hard pressed to erase that debt after November, when new campaign finance restrictions, including a ban on unregulated "soft" money by national political parties, go into effect.
McAuliffe will tout Democratic challengers to Republican senators in New Hampshire, Arkansas, Colorado and Oregon, and he will also express optimism that the party's gubernatorial nominees will prevail in Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Arizona, Wisconsin and Maine.
In all of those states except Maine, Republicans now hold the governor's office. Maine Gov. Angus King is an independent.
But notably, McAuliffe will not mention Democratic candidates seeking four open Senate seats now in Republican hands in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee. Democrats are not clearly favored in any of those races.
During the three-day meeting, Democrats have aggressively appealed to key constituency groups, including minorities and organized labor, and pointedly attacked President Bush and congressional Republicans on issues ranging from corporate responsibility to immigration reform.
The Democrats also released poll numbers showing that 63 percent of likely voters believe GOP lawmakers care more about special interests than working families.
According to the survey, while voters favored Republican candidates over Democrats when the GOP is viewed as the party fighting the war on terrorism and pushing tax cuts, Democrats prevail when they pledge "to provide a check and balance to keep the Republicans in Congress from going too far in favoring the big special interests at the expense of working people."
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