Posts about the original sin of politics.

Final Money Tallies

The post-general finance reports are in, and Eric Massa outraised Randy Kuhl by more than $150K in the period from mid-October to late November. Massa spent almost half a million dollars in that time period. Kuhl spent close to $300K.

Massa's fundraising total for the whole period was about $2 million. Kuhl raised about $1.5 million. Both candidates spent roughly what was raised. Randy has $61K in cash remaining, and Massa has a net of about $15K if he uses his cash to pay off his campaign debts.

As usual, most of Massa's money came from individual donations, often via ActBlue, the Democratic donation bundling site. Massa also got a number of donations from fellow Democrats.

The bulk of Kuhl's donations came from corporate PACs, including a number of banks (Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase were two). Kuhl got little help from his Republican colleagues during the last part of the campaign, which is probably an indicator that most of them were in tough races, and those who weren't didn't have a lot of money.

Finally, Kuhl spent $12,000 on robo-calls, which I assume were GOTV-related. Massa didn't spend a cent that I could find on calls. Robo-calls are the weakest form of GOTV. Massa's 2000-person strong turnout brigade made them unnecessary: I received something like two or three human calls from Massa volunteers on election day or the night before. This makes me think Kuhl's GOTV was weak this cycle, and it might reflect a general lack of enthusiasm among Republicans in the district.

The Untold Money Story

According to ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising site, Eric Massa raised an astonishing $724K from over 12,000 donors online. That's an average of about 50 bucks per donor.

In contrast, the Obama campaign raised half a billion dollars from 3 million donors. That's about $167 per donor on average. About 2 1/2% of those voting in the presidential race donated to Obama.

Though Obama's totals are getting all the press, Massa's are equally breathtaking. For very little effort compared to traditional fundraising, Massa was able to raise about 1/3 of his total bankroll.

Last cycle, Massa raised $415K from around 7,200 ActBlue supporters. Even though a huge amount of cash was funneled to the Obama campaign, Massa was able to tap another $300K from an additional 5,000 ActBlue donors. This indicates that we're just scratching the surface of the number of people willing to send a few bucks to some Congressional candidates who share their political views.

Some might object to ActBlue on the grounds that it allows influence from outside the district. But that's true of most of the money in contested Congressional campaigns. Union and corporate PACs contributions, party money and donations from sitting Members of Congress poured into this race. The difference between that money and ActBlue contributions is that the former comes with strings attached.

ActBlue, like Obama's millions of small donors, is a better way to finance campaigns, and we'll be seeing more of this kind of financing in future races.


Today's news that Chris Van Hollen [MD-8] has agreed to continue at the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee makes this as good a time as any to evaluate the presence of the DCCC in the 29th race.

Unlike last cycle, the DCCC poured real money into the 29th this year, spending almost $1 million on ads and mailers. This money was spent entirely on one message: Randy Kuhl voted for free trade legislation that hurt the district.

Whether that message resonated in the 29th is anyone's guess. Even though the TV ad contained one misleading claim (it tried to tie jobs lost because of NAFTA to Kuhl, who wasn't in Congress when NAFTA passed), that distortion didn't become a campaign issue. I assume part of the reason was that the NRCC released a distorted ad around the same time.

In that respect, Eric Massa was lucky. In neighboring NY-26, Howard Owens at the Batavian thinks the DCCC caused real damage:

Whatever chance Kryzan had, the DCCC killed it. First, the negative ads were over the top and in no way truthful. Second, they also crowded out Kryzan's message and didn't allow Alice to be Alice. In the end, they played right into the Lee/GOP strategy of muting Kryzan's plans and policy voice.

The DCCC spent almost $2 million on that race.

I used to think Massa was unlucky because the DCCC wouldn't recognize that the 29th was winnable and only committed money at the last minute. Now I think he's lucky that the DCCC didn't spend more in the 29th. Their cookie-cutter, misleading ads and one-size-fits-all message are often a hindrance, not a help, to the candidates they are trying to support.

Still More NRCC Money

The National Republican Congressional Committee dropped $209K on ads opposing Eric Massa yesterday in the 29th. That brings the NRCC's total to $605K.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee spent another $9K on mailings Tuesday, bringing their total to $905K.

The Air War Intensifies

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just dropped another $350K on a media buy in the 29th. That brings DCCC spending in the 29th to almost $900K.

The DCCC has not posted a new anti-Kuhl or pro-Massa ad, so it's not clear what ad that money is paying for.

With this buy, the DCCC spending has far outstripped their Republican counterpart. The NRCC has spent less that $400K in the race, and their last expenditure was on some direct mail last Friday. $9K of direct mail on Monday.

I'm no expert in media buys, but I assume the window for booking TV time before the election is almost closed.

Massa Out-Raises Kuhl Again

According to the October 1-15 filings at the FEC, Eric Massa raised $134K in the most recent reporting period. Massa has $234K on hand. Randy Kuhl raised $106K and has $208K on hand.

As of 10/15, Massa had spent $1.6 million to Kuhl's $1.3 million.

NRCC Is Still Spending

FEC filings show that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is still spending in the 29th district.

Yesterday, the NRCC spent $35K on an anti-Massa mailer. On Thursday, they spent $9K on another mailer and roughly $26K on a media buy.

As of Wednesday, the NRCC had spent a little over $300K, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent more than $500K.

Thoughts on the Goner List

Randy Kuhl's presence on what's supposedly the GOP death list has WHAM, TAP and Rochesterturning talking.

The Daily Kos got a copy of the memo. While I believe that some Republican consultant somewhere probably put together that memo, I wouldn't put Kuhl in the same category as Don Young [R-AK-AL], who's been in trouble for a long time in a well-polled race.

Compared to 2006, the NRCC has already spent heavily on this race, with a little over $300K spent as of last night. So they've probably made an impact even if they pull out. The DCCC has outspent them, dropping almost $500K on the race so far. Because independent expenditures require a 24-hour notice, the place to watch is this list, which tracks all independent expenditures and is updated regularly. We'll know soon enough if the NRCC is practicing Catholic birth control in the 29th.

Massa Out-Raises Kuhl

The latest FEC filings show that Eric Massa out-raised Randy Kuhl in the last five weeks of the third quarter.

Massa raised $247K and has $401K on hand. Kuhl raised $163K and has $374K on hand.

Massa Announces Q3 Fundraising

The Massa Campaign has announced that it raised $462,200 in the last quarter. Massa's full fundraising report has not hit the FEC website yet, nor has Kuhl's.

Syndicate content