FUNDRAISING….The Wall Street Journal reports that the Republican fundraising advantage isn’t quite as huge this year as it usually is:

Republicans are used to having more money than Democrats but this year the margin is narrower….According to Tony Corrado, an expert on political finance at Colby College, the two Democratic congressional committees have helped cut the Republicans’ cash edge at this point to less than half the margin it was overall in the 2002 midterms.

“We have to at least surpass them to just stay competitive,” Illinois veteran Republican Rep. Ray LaHood says of the Democrats. “This is the most competitive I have ever seen it.”

That’s a pretty remarkable admission, isn’t it? LaHood apparently thinks the GOP has no chance of winning a congressional election unless it can outspend the Democrats. In fact, he thinks they aren’t even in the game unless they can outspend the Democrats.

This year, the Republican Party has raised 40% more than the Dems, and they still have an $18 million edge for the home stretch. What’s more, even those figures are deceiving. Howard Dean has been spending DNC money primarily on infrastructure building, which makes the Dem total less than it seems, and individual Republicans have almost certainly raised more than their opponents, which makes the GOP number higher than it seems.

And they’re still way behind. Imagine how far behind they’d be if Democrats were actually competing on a level playing field.