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Sen. Rick Scott (second from left) and other Senate Republican leaders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Republicans' campaign arm raised $8 million last month, a new record for the group during the August of an off-year, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The National Republican Senatorial Committee saw a spike in donations following criticism of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and amid the rising cases in COVID-19. It's also reporting a record number of new donors, and saw the biggest digital fundraising month so far this cycle.

By the numbers, according to data viewed by Axios:

  • Total raised in August: $8 million
  • Cash on hand: $25.24 million
  • August donations: 175,552
  • Average donation: $45.17
  • August first-time donors: 18,981
  • August donations under $200: 174,028
  • Total August donations under $200: $4.96 million

The big picture: The NRSC's five best off-year fundraising months — and seven of its top 10 — have all come in 2021.

  • It's raising an average of about $8.3 million per month this year, up from $5.5 million in 2019 and $4.5 million in 2017.
  • It's not just a GOP phenomenon, though: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also is putting up huge off-year numbers.
  • It's roughly on pace with Republicans in terms of fundraising this year.

Yes, but: The NRSC managed to pay off all of its outstanding debts earlier in 2021.

  • The DSCC has substantially paid down the $20 million it still owed at the beginning of the year, but as of last month, it still had a $2 million debt outstanding.
  • The NRSC also ended August with $25 million in the bank, which was more than double what its Democratic counterpart reported a month earlier.

What we're hearing: NRSC Chairman Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) plans to present the new data to the GOP conference at their lunch Tuesday afternoon.

Go deeper

Secretary of State races become fundraising cash magnet

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Both parties are ramping up fundraising for secretary of state races, which in just a couple of years have gone from obscure down-ballot contests to high-profile races that could reshape American democracy.

Why it matters: Secretaries of state are many states' chief election administrators, making them crucial to efforts to alter election rules. Former President Trump is working to game the rules in his favor — and Democrats are trying to impede him.

Updated 4 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump dogs "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.

Why it matters: The two are among the most popular Republicans in the country, and as the former president eyes another run in 2024, he's irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him.