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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm raised nearly $9.3 million in March and will report more than $13 million in the bank when it files its monthly financial report Tuesday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The haul for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee topped its Republican counterpart for the second straight month. But its total for the first quarter trailed slightly, and the DSCC still has a sizable chunk of debt to pay off.

By the numbers: The DSCC’s March fundraising brought its total quarterly haul to roughly $22.7 million, according to data provided exclusively to Axios.

  • A DSCC aide said last month was the committee’s best-ever showing in March of an election cycle off-year, and its best-ever off-year month for grassroots fundraising.
  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised about a million less during March. But it had a slight edge in first-quarter fundraising, with just over $23 million, Politico reported last week.

What they’re saying: “The DSCC’s record-breaking fundraising reflects the strength of our grassroots support and is powered by Americans across the country who understand the importance of protecting and expanding Democrats’ Senate majority,” executive director Christie Roberts said in a statement.

Yes, but: While the DSCC entered April with more cash on hand than the NRSC, Democrats must contend with substantially more debt.

  • According to the DSCC aide, the committee paid down $3 million of an outstanding $18 million loan last month. The remaining $15 million is due by June 2022.
  • The NRSC, meanwhile, paid off its remaining $5.4 million in debt last month.

Go deeper

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.