RGA raises $50 million going into election year

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The Republican Governors Association raised more than $50 million in 2013, loading it's coffers for the upcoming election year in which 36 governors' seats are up for grabs. The off-year fundraising total is less than the RGA raised in 2012, but it's a 66 percent jump from 2009, the last time this many gubernatorial races were held.

The group announced the totals in a press release today.

The RGA was the top outside spending group at the state level in 2012, spending roughly $35 million on television ads in support of or against candidates, and on donations to political action committees. With 36 gubernatorial races in 2014, the group will likely spend far more than that this year.

The group’s Democratic Party counterpart, the Democratic Governors Association, has yet to release its final 2013 numbers, but through the first six months the RGA outraised the DGA by more than $10 million, according to previous filings with the Internal Revenue Service, which regulates the groups. The RGA raised $56.6 million in 2012, nearly twice the $30.6 million raised by the DGA.

Top donors to the RGA in 2013 include David Koch and deceased Republican donors Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, all of whom contributed at least $1 million, according to the organization’s filings with the IRS and the state of Virginia. The group spent more than $8 million in Virginia in 2013 supporting the losing campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

In 2010, the RGA, under the leadership of then-Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, outraised the DGA by more than $50 million. This year, the RGA is chaired by embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Cuccinelli recently called for Christie to resign his position with the political organization.