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September 1, 2014

Posts in "Fundraising"

March 5, 2014

Bill Clinton’s Real Impact on the Kentucky Senate Race

clinton 445x296 Bill Clintons Real Impact on the Kentucky Senate Race

Clinton campaigns for Alison Lundergan Grimes’ bid for Senate. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

The national media’s reaction to former President Bill Clinton’s recent trip to Kentucky to boost the Senate candidacy of Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was predictable.

Most of my colleagues in the media can’t resist a Clinton (Bill or Hillary) sighting, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s electoral test has become one of the go-to stories of this electoral cycle, even outside the Bluegrass State.

What is less understandable is why many of those who covered the Clinton event in Louisville didn’t address the question of his impact on the race in a serious way. Full story

February 10, 2014

DCCC Is 2013 Fundraising Winner, but DNC Drops the Ball

A look at the end-of-the-year financial reports of the two House campaign committees, two Senate campaign committees and two national party committees makes it pretty clear which ones have something to crow about and which have some explaining to do.

The big winner is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC, chaired by New York Rep. Steve Israel, brought in almost $76 million last year, ending December with more than $29 million in the bank.

It was a remarkable showing, given that Democrats are in the minority and there was only a brief chance, in October, that they could regain control of the House in 2014.

Full story

February 7, 2014

American Crossroads Preparing to Enter the Game

More than a few Republican operatives have been expressing nervousness about whether American Crossroads, the party’s big super PAC that was so active in 2010 and 2012, will play another significant role this cycle. They note that Americans for Prosperity has been carrying the “outside” load so far against Democratic super PACs and wonder how long that can continue.

GOP worry is likely to increase now that Patriot Majority USA, another Democratic “outside” group will, according to a piece in Politico, begin to air new ads in Senate contests. The Senate Majority PAC and League of Conservation Voters are already airing ads that seek to help Democratic Senate prospects.

American Crossroads showed just $2.7 million in the bank at the end of December, raising questions about whether it, along with its sister organization, Crossroads GPS, can come close to the $70 million they spent in the 2010 cycle and the $100 million they spent during the 2012 cycle on paid advocacy in House and Senate races. (The two groups’ total spending for the 2012 cycle exceeded $300 million, but roughly two-thirds of that was spent on the presidential contest.)

Crossroads contributors apparently have sat on their hands so far, frustrated after promises of Republican victories in 2012 that never materialized. Full story

October 30, 2013

In Louisiana, Democrats Doth Protest Too Much

pledge024 092310 226x335 In Louisiana, Democrats Doth Protest Too Much

Cassidy is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you were a Democrat who thought the GOP was heading toward selecting a weak nominee incapable of beating Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., next year, would you tear down that damaged candidate, knowing that it might bring stronger hopefuls into the race? Or would you keep your mouth shut, so Republicans would nominate the sure loser?

The answer is obvious, which is why all the huffing and puffing by the Campaign for Louisiana, a project of the Louisiana Democratic Party, about how terrible Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy’s Senate campaign is doesn’t make much sense.

It doesn’t make sense, unless, of course, the folks at the Campaign for Louisiana are worried about Cassidy and are simply using every opportunity to try to discredit him. Now that would be shocking, wouldn’t it? Full story

October 7, 2013

Shutdown Fever: Is the House in Play Now?

On Sunday, a Huffington Post headline screamed what most Democrats were hoping: “GOP In Grave Danger Of Losing House In 2014, PPP Polls Show.” Of course, anything coming from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling and MoveOn.org Political Action, which paid for the surveys, must be taken with at least a grain of salt.

PPP isn’t your typical polling firm. Its surveys often are intended to boost Democratic recruiting, fundraising or prospects. In this case, the “polls” were almost certainly commissioned to create a narrative about the political repercussions of the shutdown and the nature of the midterms.

It’s no coincidence, then, that the PPP memo accompanying the results, written by Jim Williams, observes, “The surveys challenge the conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats.”

Not surprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out multiple fundraising emails in the hours after reports of the PPP polls surfaced, and dozens of Democratic candidates and liberal groups did the same.

That’s the standard modus operandi these days on both the right and the left: have a sympathetic media organization or polling firm assert some alleged finding, and then have fellow travelers cite the initial report to try to raise cash or create momentum. It is becoming (yawn — excuse me) a little trite. Full story

September 24, 2013

RNC Fundraises Off Ted Cruz

Cruz042213 445x305 RNC Fundraises Off Ted Cruz

National Republicans are using Cruz to fundraise. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is an advocate of the big-tent approach to grow the GOP, but apparently he isn’t above grabbing onto Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s coattails if it can help fundraising.

An RNC fundraising email dated today at 4:06 p.m., titled “I Stand with Ted” and coming from Priebus, invokes Cruz’s name and his “fight to defund ObamaCare.” Cruz was on the floor at the time advocating the repeal of the president’s key legislative accomplishment.

“Join me and stand with Ted today,” says the email, which asks recipients to sign up and “tell Harry Reid to defund ObamaCare immediately.” And of course, at the end of the email is a “Contribute Now” button. Full story

July 22, 2013

Want to Run for Congress? Prepare to Ask People for Money 8 Hours a Day

As a political analyst, it’s easy to criticize candidates for not raising enough money. But it’s also easy to forget how hard it is to raise money. And it’s no wonder that most potential candidates pause before taking the plunge into a congressional race because of the burden of fundraising.

The dirty secret of campaigns is that unless a candidate is independently wealthy, the vast majority of his or her time will be spent raising money. Those kitchen table meetings with struggling parents and standing up for the Constitution on a street corner soapbox? They’re put on the back burner compared with fundraising for candidates who hope to win. Full story

May 13, 2013

Alaska Senate Poll: Far, Far Less Than Meets the Eye

A Harper Polling survey conducted for the Tea Party Leadership Fund, an obscure conservative group that has supported Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun and Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, is one of those polls probably meant for fundraising and little else.

Though writing about the poll and the polling memo automatically gives them more attention than they deserve, those of us in the media can’t merely ignore these kinds of questionable polls conducted for groups that seem more interested in fundraising than in affecting elections.

The May 6-7 IVR survey of 379 respondents tested former Gov. Sarah Palin, 2010 GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell in a three-way Republican primary ballot test, as well as Palin-Miller and Treadwell-Miller in head-to-head ballot tests.

The Harper Polling memo claims that Palin “leads” in the three-way ballot (Palin 32 percent, Treadwell 30 percent, Miller 14 percent), even though her 2-point advantage over Treadwell is well within the poll’s margin of error.

Both Palin and Treadwell lead Miller in head-to-heads, but the lack of a Palin-vs.-Treadwell ballot test deserves to raise eyebrows about the group’s motivation in underwriting the survey. Even including Palin in the poll seems odd. Treadwell has already formed an exploratory committee, while there is no reason to believe that Palin is in the least bit interested in a Senate race.

The polling memo says that “Palin boasts the strongest image” among GOP voters, but that is far from an entirely accurate assessment.

Palin’s name ID ratings are 62 percent favorable/30 percent unfavorable, while Treadwell’s are 54 percent favorable and 15 percent unfavorable. His favorable rating is lower than Palin’s, but his favorable-to-unfavorable ratio is much better. Her ratio is about 2-to-1, while his is close to 3.5-to-1. Treadwell’s unfavorable rating is half of Palin’s.

As for the Tea Party Leadership Fund, according to its 2012 end-of-the-year Federal Election Commission report, the group raised $1.17 million. Almost 90 percent of that came from small-dollar, unitemized individual contributions.

But the fund spent only a little more than $205,000 (less than 18 percent of total receipts) on contributions to candidates or on independent expenditures. More than half of the fund’s federal disbursements during the same period — $545,248 of $951,096 — went to Strategic Fundraising, a well-known Minnesota-based GOP fundraising firm.

April 22, 2013

Putting First-Quarter Senate Fundraising Into Perspective

Cruz042213 445x305 Putting First Quarter Senate Fundraising Into Perspective

First-quarter fundraising from 2011 gave no indication that Cruz would be the eventual GOP Senate nominee in Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For political junkies in a nonelection year, the release of quarterly fundraising reports by incumbents and potential candidates provides one of the few moments of true delight. After all, the reports are filled with numbers, giving us quantitative measures of fundraising strength and potential electoral success.

However, those Federal Election Commission reports aren’t nearly as useful as you may think.

(See also in Roll Call, Chart: First-Quarter Fundraising Reports for 2014 Senate Races)

I went back to the spring of 2011 to look at what knowledge we could have deduced back then from first-quarter Senate reports, and there were plenty of contests where the FEC numbers were misleading rather than enlightening.

In the Indiana race, Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar held a rather comfortable advantage over primary challenger Richard Mourdock, $3 million to $121,000, yet Mourdock ultimately won the nomination. Club for Growth money isn’t reflected in these reports, which also couldn’t possibly reflect the antagonism that many Indiana conservatives came to feel toward the veteran establishment conservative senator. Full story

April 16, 2013

Steve King’s Cash Raises Eyebrows, Doubts About Senate Bid

King041613 445x296 Steve Kings Cash Raises Eyebrows, Doubts About Senate Bid

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is mentioned often as a possible 2014 Senate candidate for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat. But if King’s first-quarter 2013 fundraising report is any indication, the conservative Republican isn’t headed for a statewide race.

King raised just $93,000 in total contributions during the first three months of the year, including only $78,000 from individuals. He ended the quarter with $90,000 in the bank. CQ Roll Call labeled him a “loser” among those whose first-quarter reports were worth monitoring.

Last cycle, King raised more than $3.7 million in individual, party and PAC contributions to turn back an aggressive challenge from former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. The race  turned out not to be as close as many had expected. Of course, his 2011 first-quarter report was also unimpressive. He showed receipts for that quarter at just more than $41,000 and ended March with $142,000 on hand.

Bruce Braley, the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic Senate nomination next year, got off to a fast fundraising start this year.  His Federal Election Commission report showed more than $856,000 raised during the quarter, ending March with just more than $1 million in the bank after transferring funds from his House committee. Full story

March 12, 2013

Monthly Party Fundraising Reports Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Every election cycle the party campaign committees, and many in the national media, make a big deal about party fundraising.

Coverage of the money chase has been exacerbated by the fact that these committees file monthly reports detailing their fundraising, as opposed to quarterly. To wit:

There is nothing wrong with these pieces. But the party committee numbers, while noteworthy, simply aren’t as important as they once were. Full story

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