PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- With Democrats firmly in control of the state legislature and Congressional delegation, state Republicans have not had many chances to crow in recent years.
But there is one arena in which they currently hold an edge over state Democrats: money.
The Rhode Island Republican State Committee had a total of $42,803.79 left in its political-campaign account after raising $23,353, and spending a relatively modest $7,717 during the quarter that ended on June 30, according to its latest Board of Elections filing.
By contrast, the Rhode Island Democratic State Committee had only $5,010.77 left at the same point in time, after spending $21,990.96 , including the twice-a-month payment of a portion of party chairman Edwin Pacheco's $15,000 a year salary and health insurance.
Even the Moderate Party of Rhode Island had more in the bank: $5,546, according to its own elections board filing.
Former state Rep. Pacheco was unavailable to answer questions about his party's financial situation. But the party's executive director, Stephanie DeSilva, said the state filing does not reflect the additional $30,340 the state party had on hand, as of July 31, in a separate, federal campaign account the state party can draw on to help pay salaries of its three staffers.
That includes money the state party got from an arm of the Democratic National Committee known as the state party "Victory Fund.''
DeSilva said campaign spending rules allow the state party to tap the federal account when any one of its staffers, including Pacheco, spend more than 25 percent of their time working for the reelection of the president or any member of the state's Congressional delegation, for example.
Between the two accounts, the party has been paying $531.65 every two weeks to Pacheco - who is also the full-time executive director of the non-profit "Education in Action.'' The state report reflects the $340.26 (64 percent) the state party has "reimbursed'' its federal account for its share of his salary.
The state party also paid $1,188.75 to him for his travel expenses to and from Washington on at least two occasions, and "food, beverages and meals'' at "meetings'' closer to home at the Marriott hotel, for example, and Camille's restaurant on Federal Hill.
The state report also reflects the state party's share of DeSilva's $50,000 a year salary, and fees paid campaign comptroller Susann Della Rosa.
But that still begs the fundraising question. The only money that went into the Democrats' state account during the last quarter was a $13.98 "refund/rebate'' from Beacon Mutual Insurance.
DeSilva said the party - which raised a total of $363,418 (not counting tax-check off dollars) during the 2010 election year - is gearing up for another big push.
The state GOP, meanwhile, has clearly benefited in this non-election year from a state law allowing contributions of up to $10,000 each calendar year to a state party for "party -building,'' on top of the $1,000 an individual or PAC can give a state party, that the party can then turn around and give a candidate.
Among the party's big donors so far this year: Republican stalwarts Frank Mauran ($10,000), Warren Galkin ($3,000), and Scott Morrison ($2,500).
At this point, state GOP chairman Ken McKay said his party has no full-time employees.
He said he worked the phones - and sent out a contribution solicitation letter - to raise the non-election year money that has come in so far. "Our whole goal is to build a voter file .... we can use to identify fiscal conservatives who we can turn out in 2012'' and "renew our web presence.''
The GOP's biggest expenses included rent, the $1,000 paid fundraising consultant Darcie Johnston's Montpelier, Vt., company in May, and the $2,000 fee paid lawyer Patrick Sweeney, the party's part-time executive director, in May and again in June for his "consultant and professional services.''
The state GOP began and ended the last campaign-report with $62,955 in its own federal account on top of the $42,803 in its state account.
At last count, the state had 284,227 registered Democrats, 71,203 registered Republicans, 423 voters affiliated with the Moderate Party and 341,504 unaffiliated voters, according to the secretary of state's office.