Posts about the original sin of politics.

Another Kind of Audacity

Here's the first email I received last night after the Iowa caucus was called for Obama:

Yeeeeaaaahhhhhhh!!!! You did it!

The DFA Unite for a Progressive President Campaign was a huge success and helped propel Senators Obama and Edwards to first and second place victories in Iowa.

A year ago, the pundits and beltway Democrats said this race was a forgone conclusion. Over the last two months, you made it a dead heat on the ground in Iowa.

Tonight: Progressives Won!

The nomination is far from over. New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are coming up fast. And, Super Tuesday could decide the nomination.

With your help, we will continue to make history. You did it in Iowa. Let's do it again across the nation. Contribute $15 right now and support our campaign for a progressive president.

DFA stands for Democracy for America, a political action committee.  Perhaps they did have something to do with setting the stage for Senator Obama's win last night.  But the notion that someone should send them $15 because Obama won is a staggering misdirection.  If you have a few bucks to send, you'll get the most bang for those bucks by sending them directly to your candidate of choice.

This is especially true in the 29th district, where groups like DFA and MoveOn are active supporters of Eric Massa's candidacy.   If you're sending DFA money and haven't maxed out your contributions to Massa, you're as big a sucker as someone who thinks that the right way to respond to last night's events in Iowa is to send Howard Dean's brother a check.

Money Followup

As noted in Rochesterturning, Massa raised the most of any challenger in the Western New York Congressional races, and Kuhl raised the least of any incumbent.   That said, everyone's raising significant cash, especially considering that we're thirteen months away from the 2008 election.  This means that the Rochester media market, which is an important one for the 25th, 26th and 29th districts, will be saturated with advertising a year from now.   Since 2008 is also a presidential year, I assume that a major canvassing and get-out-the-vote effort will complement the massive advertising blitz.

Based on Massa's plan to raise $3 million, the likelihood that Kuhl will match Massa's fundraising, and the involvement of third parties, the 29th may see $6-8 million spent on the 2008 race.   Since the Massa campaign makes much of Kuhl's corporate donations, and the Kuhl campaign likes to ding Massa for raising money from out-of-state liberals, money will probably become a major issue in next year's campaign.  

In other money news, today's Elmira Star-Gazette carries the Gannett News Service story on the 29th's money race. 

The Numbers are In

Reader James tells us that the FEC reports for both Massa and Kuhl are now posted.  Kuhl out-raised Massa by roughly $20K, $170K to $150K.  Massa ends the quarter with slightly more cash on hand.  $108K of Massa's fundraising was from individuals, compared to $41K of Kuhl's. 

Massa Pre-Announces Fundraising

Today is the Federal Election Committee (FEC) deadline for filing third-quarter fundraising reports. The Massa campaign says they raised almost $150K during the last quarter, and that they have $215K cash on hand.  Massa is far ahead of where he was during the same period in 2005. 

Republicans Begin Defensive PAC Donations

Congressional Quarterly reports that House Minority Leader John Boehner's leadership PAC has begun to make maximum contributions to Republicans who are in danger of losing their seats. In contrast, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's PAC is making contributions to Democratic challengers. Randy Kuhl recently received the $10,000 maximum from Boehner's PAC.

Exile at Rochesterturning notes that these defensive buys put the lie to the notion that low Congressional approval ratings might lead to a Republican resurgence. I agree. Those interested in the source of the low approval ratings might want to read what Glenn Greenwald has to say about them -- the bottom line is that low approval is being driven by Democrats' discontent with the Democratic Congress.

As fundraising shifts into high gear, it will be interesting to see if another factor is at play: "live by the corporate PAC, die by the corporate PAC". Randy Kuhl received big donations from corporate-financed PACs that want to pass legislation agreeable to the corporations who pay their bills. A Member of Congress who is part of the minority party, and on the edge of losing his seat, isn't an automatic investment for those PACs. It will be interesting to see whether Kuhl can attract funds from them again, or if he'll have a shortfall that can't be shored up by a few donations from House leaders.<?p>

Money in the Media

Today's Elmira Star-Gazette and yesterday's Democrat and Chronicle carry a Gannett News Service story about fundraising in the 29th. Other than the numbers reported here earlier, the story also reports that Massa's honorary campaign chair is Edgar Bronfman, Sr., former chairman of Seagram's and major Democratic donor.

The Solomonic Wisdom of Unions

Labor's scattershot approach to campaign financing is once again in evidence in the Q2 FEC filings. Even after Randy Kuhl's March vote against the main union bill of the session, the Employee Free Choice Act, the contributions kept rolling in.

Of the $6,500 Kuhl received from labor this quarter, perhaps the most interesting contribution is the $2,000 donation from the Machininsts' Non-Partisan League. Like Solomon, the Machinists decided to cut the baby in half by also donating $5,000 to the Massa campaign.

In the bible, the story of Solomon is a parable. In the 29th, it's a reality. So continues the strange tale of union political advocacy.

Kuhl's Numbers in Context

The conservative blog Real Clear Politics has an overview of the second quarter fundraising numbers, and Randy Kuhl merits special mention for his anemic showing. Kuhl is one of 20 incumbents on the Republican National Congressional Committee's (RNCC) Regain Our Majority Program (ROMP) list. Of those 20, Kuhl ranked dead last in fundraising. The top ROMP list member raised $800K this quarter - an order of magnitude more than Kuhl.

Kuhl Numbers Out - Massa Beats Kuhl

Randy Kuhl's fundraising numbers have been posted by the FEC. During the second quarter, Kuhl raised $68K, $62K of which was from corporate, labor and party-related Political Action Committees (PACs).

Eric Massa raised $158K this quarter. $133K of that total was raised from individuals, the rest from labor and party-related PACs. Massa does not accept corporate PAC donations.

Massa's fundraising totals give him about $50K more cash-on-hand ($153K vs $105K for Kuhl), though Massa's campaign owes $78K. David Nachbar has the most cash on hand of any candidate ($202K) because of his personal loan to his campaign.

Democratic Money Numbers

The fundraising numbers for Democratic candidates in the 29th have hit the FEC website. The numbers are still in flux, but it looks like Eric Massa has significantly out-raised David Nachbar. Since the beginning of this election cycle, Massa raised about $150,000 in donations and loaned his campaign $10,000. Nachbar raised about $15,000, and loaned his campaign $200,000.

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