IN THE MONEY…. Given the way the political winds have been blowing, the assumption was that the Republican campaign committees would be collecting more contributions at this point than their Democratic counterparts.

Fortunately for Dems, that’s not happening. Chris Cillizza noted this morning, “Despite facing a difficult electoral environment this fall, the three national Democratic campaign committees outraised their Republican counterparts in August, numbers that should provide something of a boost to the party’s hopes of retaining control of the House and Senate this fall.”

Under the circumstances, the fundraising totals are surprisingly good for the majority party. The DNC outraised the RNC by a $3 million margin. The DCCC reversed recent trends and brought in $8.3 million in August, as compared to the NRCC’s $6.6 million. Among the Senate committees, the NRSC has a cash-on-hand edge that matters a great deal, but in August it was outraised, $7.4 million to $6 million. Cillizza concluded, that Democrats “are not only guaranteed to have a spending advantage in many of the most competitive races in the county but also could benefit from a bit of unexpected momentum just six weeks before the November midterms.”

When it comes to campaign resources, for Dems, that’s the good news. What’s the bad news? There’s a legion of well-funded, right-wing organizations taking in money hand over fist, and all of it will go to fund attack ads targeting Democrats.

Take Karl Rove’s operation, for example.

Two affiliated groups led by a blue-chip cast of Washington Republican strategists have raised a combined $32 million so far this year, using new freedom from fundraising restrictions to create a parallel and unofficial Republican campaign to defeat Democrats in November.

American Crossroads and its political sibling, Crossroads GPS, raised about $14.5 million in the 30-day period that ended Sunday, a signal that their aggressive advertising and voter outreach in key Senate battleground states have struck a chord with Republican donors.

Justin Elliott added that new FEC filings show that American Crossroads “continues to be funded virtually entirely by billionaires.”

All told, there’s a flood of money being spent in the midterm election from “independent” groups, and 85% of the money is going to support Republican candidates.

If the cycle were simply a matter of Democratic efforts vs. Republican efforts, Dems have the resources necessary to mount a credible defense of their majority. But with conservative corporations and right-wing fat cats getting involved at levels unseen in the modern era, the Democratic fundraising edge over the GOP committees can only go so far.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.