Monday, April 03, 2006

The Dash For Cash

March 31st was a great testing date. Campaigns on both sides of the political aisle made a major push to swell the record of campaign donations before the end of the first quarter.

There are three reasons for this. The first is that the way the political game is played in the United States requires very substantial war chests. This may be a shame, you may favor federal (and limited) funding for major campaigns, and you may decry this as “not cricket.” I would agree you’re right, but then we’re not playing cricket. Our political process is a game as money-drenched as baseball.

If you have any hope of changing the game you must first get elected playing the game that’s being played. Unjust? You bet, but there’s no point in kicking at the net.

The second reason for those war chests is that running at the national level is a very different sort of game from running for alderman, or even mayor. As constituencies get larger even solid grass roots campaigns become increasingly stressed, and the need for well-developed (and costly) field operations teams even greater. When former Tucson mayor Tom Volgy ran for Congress he honorably respected a pledge not to accept more than a fixed sum in campaign contributions. He came closer to victory than any former or subsequent challenger. What if he had accepted the additional funds on behalf of “one last push?” We’ll never know.

The third reason, and the one that is most anguishing to many grass roots campaigns, is that the Democratic and Republican national political organizations view the money-raising results as an indicator of “viability.” The breadth and strength of a particular campaign is measured by the number of donors on one hand and the amount of money raised on the other.

There seems to be no difference between the parties on this dash for the cash and all the political junkies anxiously await the FEC report.


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Short personal note: The Rogue Theatre production of “The Dead ‘ closed last night. Many of the members of the cast had been working together for more than nine months. Parting was not a particularly sweet sorrow and there was more than one glistening eye in the green room.
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11 comments:

Kralmajales said...
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George Tuttle said...

Well Liz, we saw Elaine Richardson raise a whole boatload of cash and how much did that help her? I remember one writer when he saw Raul's first report said that he was not anywhere near a contender that Ms. Richardson was.

We know how that one turned out, huh?

Kralmajales said...
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x4mr said...

This next round of finance reporting will be most interesting. G's cactus thing and her events this last month sure hint of potential. Patty's calendar sure looks busy, but none of the events ring of serious money. Jeff's site has no calendar and from the site I can't get a sense of fundraising activity, but I won't speculate. Facts are coming soon enough.

Also, haven't really seen much discussion (doesn't mean there hasn't been) on volunteer situation. Jeff clearly has some highly motivated folks, but how many? Did his office launch get a good turnout? I heard Patty's recruiting event the other Sunday was very weak.

Word on the street is that G has LEGIONS.

Still early, but tick tock, tick tock, and those folks are worth $.

Also don't get the Liz thing. My eyes read "Roger" at the bottom.

cc burro said...

Latas' headquarters opening was a blast! Very energized supporters...

Latas '06!

anonymous said...

Maybe all of those events on Patty's calendar are for the people who vote in primaries.

The ring of serious money belongs to the pro-business democrats, not the pro-people wing.

Tone deafness can result from the ring of the cashbox drowning out rational discussions.

Follow the money! Keep your eye on the cash. Keep in mind that 80% of both national party conventions are paid for by the same corporations, and that mere delegates will never venture into the VIP salons where candidates and lobbyists dine on global haute cuisine and determine what the mere delegates (those of the funny hats) will get to vote for.

Gabby was born for the VIP salons.

anonymous said...

Kralmajales,

You overlook the fact Gabby had been fundraising prior to the reporting period she 1st reported. It was her 1st reporting period so everything got reported and it looked like it all took place in that one period. It didn't.

I have a feeling Gabby and her money machine are going to be squished like Elaine Richardson and her money machine was back in 2002. Lay off the kool-aid bro, it isn’t healthy. Do you really think Gabby cares about you and your interest?

vetdem said...

The last two anons are obviously supporting less talented, inept candidates that can't seem to raise the funds to run a successful campaign. There only resort is to knock the candidate that has organization and experience. Fundraising is indicitive of support. When are you going to figure that out?

anonymous said...

Votes are indicative of support.

Votes are worth more than money.

Nothing inferior nor inferred about the other candidates...

Gabby's internal polls will show you the way to enlightenment.

And she is not going to use them to raise money, only to tune her image with the quirky voters who have yet to understand her dynamic abilities.

If she had good numbers, they would have been leaked to the press, and bandied about with the Gabber Bloggers.

Emersome Biggums said...

I would suggest you redefine what you think an effective campaign is, Vetdem.

My opinion is that I see very forceful campaigns. Latas has done more then the other in this race considering his time in politics and name recognition. No one has done more that I have seen in such a short period. I think this is a definition of success. Given the money, he's doing fine from what I hear. He doesn't need nearly as much because he has many volunteers that are giving him what others will have to pay for, this is called grass roots, the place Democrats came from and he is making this happen. He does represent a progressive agenda that the people like. This is success whether you want to hear that or not.

He is starting to make a move from what I see. I think this dark horse is starting to deliver his message and the people are truly hear it. He has the best instincts of any of the candidates and I like that. Democrats have strayed from vision and conviction, but Latas and the progressive movement are part of the return of the old party I was part of years and years ago, the roll up your sleeves and talk from the gut and NOT THE POLLS Democrat.

vetdem said...

I wish Jeff Latas the best with his campaign. I also don't think CD-8 can find a more qualified candidate to representative this district than Senator Giffords. She's smart, experienced and honest. She sure has my vote.