The Obama Model for Congressional Campaigns

The Obama campaign is raising huge amounts of cash from small donors.  Could this style of fundraising catch on in congressional districts? 

I did a little back-of-the envelope calculation, and for now, I think the answer is no.  The Obama campaign recently announced that they have over one million donors.  And Obama says that the average donation received by his campaign is $109.  If you scale that to the 29th district (here are the details),  Eric Massa could raise roughly $300K if could somehow replicate Obama's success on a smaller scale. 

That number is one-tenth of what Massa says he needs to be competitive in the 29th.  So even if my calculations are off, I doubt if they're off by an order of magnitude.  We've got a way to go before all campaign financing comes from a large number of small donors.


By Obama's fundraising to scale with Massa's 3 million dollar goal, Obama would have to raise 1.5 billion dollars. That's not quite as crazy as it sounds -- I expect Obama to raise in the ball part of $500 million and some people think he could go higher. If Democrats presidential candidates continue to raise $85 million a month, that would translate to $680 million, but I expect it to slow down a bit.

I think Obama is going to get 500 million pretty easily, so perhaps a 29th candidate could get $1 mil via the Internet. That's on the edge of viability.

I think many people are finding it easier to pay bills on the net, so by extension it should be easier for many to donate that way.

Yes, and Massa does get a number of donations from the net. He doesn't get Obama-level volume -- yet.