Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee raised more than $7 million last month, but is still saddled with a debt of more than $19 million from the 2010 midterm election cycle.
The RNC brought in $7.014 million in March, a big step up from $5.2 million in February, according to party committee officials. The RNC has $3.2 million cash on hand, with a debt of $19.764 million, down from more than $21 million the previous month.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who was elected in January, has repeatedly said that mission number one is to pay off the committee's debt and prepare the RNC for the 2012 presidential election. Previous Chairman Michael Steele was widely criticized for his lack of attention to fundraising.
"The chairman's priority has been restoring relationships with major donors who had left the committee in past cycles to bring money in the door so we can be a partner to our Republican presidential nominee," RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski tells CNN. "The committee's first quarter numbers shows his work is paying off – he has raised more major donor money in the first quarter of 2011 than the first quarters of 2009 and 2010 combined."
The Democratic National Committee has not yet released its March fundraising figures. In February the DNC brought in $6.9 million, with $10.5 million cash on hand, and a debt of around $17 million.