Worried About '08, Republican Party Taps Candidates For Money

The Republican National Committee has asked the Republican presidential candidates to sign a joint letter to donors urging them to raise money for the RNC's presidential trust dinner, its biggest fundraising event in early 2008.

As of yesterday, four Republicans had signed on -- ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul and Ex-Sen. Fred Thompson. (A spokesman for Romney said the campaign had agreed "in principle" to participate but was waiting to learn more details).

“The RNC is working with the presidential campaigns to maximize opportunities with donors to ensure Republican candidates up and down the ticket have the necessary resources to communicate our message next fall," said Danny Diaz, the RNC's communications director.

A senior consultant to a Republican presidential campaign said that the party was moved to act now because they worry that Republicans will lag behind the combined efforts of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic candidate in 2008.

The RNC outraises the DNC month-by-month, but Republicans expect the Democratic presidential nominee to raise more than the Republican nominee. The consultant said that the RNC wanted to tap some of the donation bundlers recruited by the Republican candidates.

As of the end of August, the RNC reported $16M in the bank compared with the DNC's $2M.

Both parties' nominees are likely to opt out of the public financing system for the general election, so the parties themselves will play a subordinate role; the candidates will be free to raise and spend as much as they can legally accumulate.