The Democrats' Senate campaign organization raised $13.6 million in September, outpacing the Republican National Committee and setting the stage for an expensive and brawling finish to the 2006 campaign.

Overall, Republicans still hold a financial advantage going into the final days of the campaign. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported $23.1 million in hand, compared with $26 million reported by the RNC.

But the numbers show a closing trend for Democrats who have been lagging behind overall Republican fundraising.

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"The fact that the Senate Democrats beat the Michael Jordan of political fundraising speaks to the fact that there is an enormous appetite for change in the Senate and in America," said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the chairman of the senatorial campaign.

But Republicans were also cheering their numbers, which represented the biggest fundraising month of this campaign season. The RNC raised $13 million in September.

RNC Chairman Mark Mehlman said the party was not only raising money successfully, it also was reaching out to voters. "This is clear evidence that Republicans all across the country are committed to maintaining our majorities in Congress and electing Republicans this November," he said.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $5.15 million in September and had $12 million on hand. The committee has lagged behind its Democratic counterpart throughout the cycle, but its spending on campaigns has been supplemented by the better-financed RNC.

The Democratic National Committee, which trails the RNC in fundraising, had not yet released its figures.

On the House side, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported raising $12 million in September, with $39.2 million cash on hand. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had not yet made its numbers public.