In a comment to an earlier post Liza said, “I'm already sick of hearing of about Giffords and her 570K. I can sympathize, Liza, because there are other things we should be talking about, but we are going to be hearing a lot about every candidate’s money before November.
The reason is simple, if unpalatable. Despite our faith (some of it justified) in the power of the grass roots, you can’t win an election on volunteers alone.
A hard core cadre of volunteers is invaluable to any political campaign. By “hard core” I mean a group that can give twenty hours or more to the campaign each week, running the headquarters, coordinating the work of other volunteers, assisting in research, mail targeting, and assisting any professional staff the campaign may have hired.
My judgement is that almost any campaign will be able to attract such a group of true believers, fifteen or twenty perhaps, willing to work themselves virtually to the point of exhaustion for their candidate. A vastly greater number of volunteers will be attracted, of course, but my experience has been that while they may walk a neighborhood, or assist in getting a mailing out, the best of them are not likely to do this more than once or twice.
Consider for just a moment the statistics for CD-8
(Let’s also remember that CD-8 is spread out over parts of four counties. In densely populated urban districts you might get 650,000 people spread across thirty to fifty square blocks, at least in principle within walking distance.)
In November, if we hope to gain control of the House and make the first steps toward election reform, we have to try to influence Democrats, Others, Libertarians, and some disaffected Republicans. We also have to be able to respond to Republican attack ads. None of this is cheap and none of it can be done by volunteers alone walking neighborhoods...as much needed and useful as that is. Sad, perhaps…but true.
Note: Thanks to research librarian SW for locating this data on the Secretary of State’s site. Link