[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/17/art.rnc.gi.jpg caption="The Republican National Committee announced its April fundraising figures today."](CNN) - Some good news for embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele: the national party said Friday it raised more than $5.7 million in April, and had $24.3 million cash-on-hand.
That's more than double the roughly $9.8 million Democrats had on hand in March, the last month for which the party's fundraising figures are available.
Many political observers expected Steele's biggest success would come as party spokesman, not on the fundraising front. Instead, the former Maryland lieutenant governor's public statements have frequently landed him in hot water - but, despite a push within the party to reclaim some control of the purse strings from the GOP leader, the RNC's bottom line remains surprisingly healthy thanks to better-than-expected fundraising success.
The RNC has outpaced its Democratic counterpart on the fundraising front since Steele took the helm, thanks in part to legal restrictions on Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine. The Virginia governor was forbidden by law from raising money for the party while his state's legislature was still in session, and dismissed direct comparisons with the GOP's showing - though he predicted in March that observers should "stay tuned" now that he was free to solicit donations. "I think you're going to see good numbers," he said.
The DNC did outraise the RNC in March, $7.8 million to $6.8 million, but remained $6.6 million in debt. The RNC is currently debt-free.
Democrats have raked in less than $18 million over the first three months of the year, while Republicans have pulled in more than $25 million. The DNC has yet to release its April fundraising figures.
UPDATE: The RNC dismissed the idea that restrictions on Kaine's money-raising ability had contributed to sluggish Democratic fundraising. “To claim that the DNC has been out-raised by the RNC because Mr. Kaine is a part-time governor is laughable," said RNC spokesman Todd Irons.
"The Democrats have control of the White House and Congress, the DNC supposedly has a database of 12 million supporters of Obama's presidential campaign, and the DNC still can't raise any money? Legal restrictions on Gov. Kaine my eye. It has more to do with the fact that the president and Nancy Pelosi have been on a spending spree with the taxpayers’ money and piling-up mountains of debt than any so-called ‘legal restrictions.’”