The church I attended as a kid issued two kinds of collection envelopes. There were white ones for every Sunday, and a few brightly colored ones for special occasions. If the bishop, or the starving kids in Africa, needed some extra cash, they'd get it in a mint green or blaze orange envelope from the true believers.
If only it were that easy for politicians. Instead of spending a few cents and getting big bucks in return, the candidates in the 29th have to truck in political celebrities to motivate their core faithful.
The Massa campaign's big name last week was Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame's husband. Tonight, Massa's in New York City at a fundraiser [pdf] with Nancy Pelosi. Not to be outdone, the Kuhl campaign will take part in an event featuring Laura Bush sometime this week. (Update: The Bush event is a meet-and-greet on 10/28 in Greece, NY with Kuhl, Jim Walsh (NY-25) and Tom Reynolds (NY-26).)
The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (RCCC) has spent $47 million on advertising in Congressional races in the last 6 weeks. Congressional Quarterly has a rundown [pdf] of spending from early September to October 19, and here is today's additional $8 million spent. None of it was spent for Kuhl or against Massa.
The Democrats aren't spending in the 29th, either. At the moment, they've limited their ad buys to an effort to lock in a 15-seat shift in Congress.
Judging from the money trail, Republicans are spending to shore up weak seats, and Kuhl isn't vulnerable enough to trigger an investment. The Democrats are throwing down on turnovers, and the 29th is too big a gamble for them to place a bet. Kuhl and Massa are on their own, and 29th voters have so far been spared from a spate of party-funded negative ads.
Randy Kuhl's new money numbers have just been posted. He raised $90K from individuals and $133K from PACs in the period from August 23 to September 30. That's about $80K less than Massa raised in the same period.
The Cheney fundraiser on September 29th is included in this period. Media reports estimated its take at between $125K and $200K. That event must have fallen far short of expectations.
Kuhl still has an impressive lead in cash on hand, holding steady at $550K.
Eric Massa's new money numbers have been posted by the FEC. In the period between August 23 and September 30, he's increased his total raised from $660K to $969K. His cash on hand has risen to $334K, $74K more than the $260K he had last month. Two-thirds of Massa's money comes from individual donations.
Kuhl's numbers aren't posted yet.
Massa's pre-emptive strike has Kuhl looking like he wanted to keep Cheney's $1000 photo-op and $250-plate fundraiser on the DL. You know you've invited the wrong person to town when your opponent is more excited about the visit than you are.
Vice-President Dick Cheney will appear at a $1000-plate fundraiser for Randy Kuhl on September 29 in Rochester, according to Eric Massa's campaign diary.
Cheney appeared on Meet the Press this morning and commented that he's been campaigning heavily and expects to win:
I’ve done 91 campaigns myself this cycle, since last fall. I’m on the road a lot. I’ve seen our candidates, I’ve seen how they’re handling the issues. We’ve generated the resources we need to be able to have a good, hard-fought competition. I—if I had to bet today, I’d bet that—well, I can bet you a dinner that we hold both Houses.
Cheney's appearance, like Bush's trip earlier this year, is a double-edged sword for Kuhl. Cheney's approval ratings are in the low 20's, and he's a polarizing and divisive figure. As his Meet the Press appearance demonstrated this morning, he's also an articulate spokesman for the Bush administration's positions on the War on Terror. Apparently Kuhl will risk another "rubber stamp" branding moment to energize his base and fatten his warchest.
The FEC pre-primary reports are out, and Randy Kuhl still has a commanding lead over Eric Massa. Kuhl has so far raised almost $1 million, and has about $600K on hand. Massa has raised about $660K and has $260K left in the bank.
Roughly two-thirds of Kuhl's contributions come from PACs or other advocacy groups, the rest from individuals. The opposite is true for Massa: 65% of his contributors are private citizens.
Both candidates have raised roughly the same amount of money so far this year as Kuhl and Massa's Democratic counterpart did in all of '04. And both are still at work. Massa was one of the participants in a fundraiser with Hillary Clinton last night.
Aside from MoveOn ads, the 29th hasn't seen a lot of outside involvement in the race. To gauge the future influence of outside organizations and party committees, it's worth knowing how much they have to spend.
A Time article has some good news for Randy Kuhl. Though Republican and Democratic candidates are very close in overall fundraising, the Republican National Committee has outraised the Democrats by $34 million to $11 million. Republican-friendly advocacy groups have also been outspending those friendly to Democrats. For example, the Chamber of Commerce has spent $10 million compared to MoveOn's $2 million.
Today's Washington Post has a front-page story about the effectiveness of Democratic fundraising in contested congressional elections. Challengers in general are doing much better this year than in '04. This pattern is true in the 29th, where Eric Massa has so far raised almost 80% of what Kuhl's last challenger, Sam Barend, collected during her entire campaign.
The Post story is based on second-quarter fundraising reports. Kuhl and Massa have both held major fundraising events this quarter, but we won't know how they're doing until the FEC third-quarter pre-primary reports are released, sometime after the October 15 deadline August 31 filing date (fixed - thanks to Massaman).
The New York State AFL-CIO endorsed Eric Massa during their convention today. An endorsement is great, but what about the money? As of the end of the last reporting period (June 30), it looks like Massa's gotten precisely nothing from this union.
When Massa finally gets his donation, I wonder if it will be more than the $4500 that AFL-CIO unions have given Kuhl during this cycle. And I'll let someone else explain how giving almost $5K to a Bush loyalist freshman helps the union cause -- that's way beyond my abilities.
The AFL-CIO isn't the only union putting money in Randy's pocket. Since he sits on the the Education and Commerce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, which control a lot of legislation that affects government employees, he also got $1000 from AFSCME, the state and county employees union.
That $1000 is a bit of an anomoly for AFSCME, which also happens to be the top all-time political donor of the last 18 years. Historically , they've given 98% of their money to Democrats. That's a pretty light hedge compared to the AFL-CIO, which has so far given 11% of its donations to Republicans in the current cycle.