WASHINGTON — Despite being in the minority in Congress, Republican campaign committees outraised Democrats by $1.7 million in August as they have aggressively collected political cash amid the rancorous debate over health care.

Republicans also held an edge over Democrats in the amount of money available, when counting debts, as both parties set the stage for the 2010 elections, in which more than three dozen competitive House and Senate seats are at stake.



The GOP spike is a departure. In each of the past four years, the party in power — whether Democrat or Republican — raised more than the minority's fundraising committees in August, a USA TODAY review of campaign records shows.

 

In the Senate, where Republicans are far outnumbered, their fundraising committee collected $3.1 million last month, compared to $2.2 million by the Democratic committee. It was the second month in a row that the Senate GOP committee outperformed Democrats