Friday, December 30, 2005


Fundraising numbers

In a relatively slow news week, I've been thinking about the year-end fundraising totals. Unless candidates start Enron-ing their numbers, it's very difficult to spin a campaign's success at raising money. While it's not a hard-and-fast rule that campaigns which raise more money than their opponents always win, having more cash on hand than the competition certainly helps.

If you're a political junkie like me, you know that is electronic crack. It's incredibly enlightening to see how a candidate or elected official's rhetoric compares to their sources of campaign contributions.

Right now I'm thinking mainly of the Gubernatorial and US Senate races, but the Congressional races could be interesting as well. In the Senate race, I'm convinced that one of the three DFL contenders has found and cultivated a money tree in their back yard. There's no other way to explain it. Amy Klobuchar has racked up big money and big endorsements from all over the state, Patty Wetterling has soldiered on by heavily soliciting small-dollar donations, but I think the wild card here will be Ford Bell's totals. His Q3 totals were surprisingly high, and while I don't think he'll contend for the DFL endorsement for Senate, I've recently heard some rumors concerning Mr. Bell in connection with a move to the CD3 race against Jim Ramstad. With a quick look at OpenSecrets, one can easily find out that while Deborah Watts may be a solid candidate on the issues, her fundraising was somewhat lacking, and this is one area where Mr. Bell has excelled. With his no-nonsense approach to the issues and Un-Ek-like actual residence in the district in question, it could be a fascinating move to make.

On the gubernatorial side, I think for now I have to keep my mouth shut, as I don't have many solid contacts in the Hatch and Lourey campaigns. All I have to go on concerning their fundraising progress is, frankly, unsubstantiated, so I'll wait until the numbers come out. However, I think a lot of people will be very surprised when those numbers are finally published. Kelly Doran adds an interesting component to the money race, spending early, often, and big to do.....not much of anything (raise your hand if you caught his cable ad buy more than once...).

For me, it's not just a matter of being able to spend whatever it takes to win - not even asking for donations from the people you need to vote for you is dangerous. Dangerous because, on a wide scale, it creates an elite governing class, which isn't really what I consider democratic, but on a small scale it totally disconnects average voters from the political campaign process. People aren't "giving" you money when they write a check, they're investing in the future of their government. Possessive pronoun "their" intended. Government belongs to the people, not to those who are privileged enough to represent them. This doesn't mean that political figures like Doran, Mark Dayton, John Corzine, and many others who run on their own dime are bad people or politicians.....just frustrating.

Blogger Mike S said:
The other component in the Governor's race is when the candidates got in the race. Hatch and Kelley in particular have been running for months and months, while Lourey got in in mid November. I leave Doran out as he is self-financing and was running for Senate for most of the year. Make sure to look at percentage of cash on hand an dhow quickly candidates were spending their money more than a year out from the election
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
This is a very good point, and will serve my personal preference in the race very well :) If I may, I'll add one more thing to the list of factors to take into account: Strategy. Each of the three non-rich candidates has a very different strategy, one going so far as to commit to abiding by the DFL endorsement. It's not just speed at which money is being spent, it's how that money is being spent AND at what rate.
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