10 THING$ TO CONSIDER . . .
Tuesday is the deadline for candidates to file their 1st quarter campaign finance reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission. It's a day of overly-hyped anticipation and possibly some trepidation for candidates, politicos, insiders and journalists/bloggers alike. Here are points we'll be considering as the numbers roll in . . .
1. Sarah Steelman was the first of the big three to reveal her cashflow. The A.P. reports she's got $1.4 million on hand as she heads into her primary, raising $1.1 million over the past three months. But about half of that haul ($500,000) was a loan to herself. She raised $658,753 from other people. How many donors does she have? What's the average contribution? And did she go first to blunt (no pun intended . . . ok maybe) the impact of Kenny Hulshof's haul?
2. The Steelman clan likes to say it would be almost impossible for their candidate to outraise Hulshof, but do they really believe that or just managing the expectation game? "It's a tough environment out there," one top Republican fundraiser recently told me.
3. It's likely the majority of Blunt's money will go to the new establishment pick of Hulshof. But how much of a slice are we talking about and can Steelman pick off any of Blunt's donors?
4. What does Jay Nixon's quarter look like since the reshuffling of the Republican deck of candidates? Is it tougher to rally the donor base without a Matt Blunt to kick around anymore?
5. What does it mean that the Democratic frontrunner for State Treasurer has outraised the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor?
6. No one comes to Springfield to raise big money, but which candidates show an ability to raise a measurable amount of dough from Southwest Missouri.
7. Is Nick Beatty the only Democratic challenger in the Springfield area with the ability to raise some real money?
8. In some years, no matter how much money a candidate raises, it can't change the message, momentum or mood of the voters.
9. Sometimes the candidate with less money wins. Ask Jim Talent or Claire McCaskill about this.
10. Despite the time and effort we spend on covering the numbers, the campaign reports released Tuesday will mostly impact the "Gang of 500 or so" -- politicos who eat, breathe and live politics daily (and read the same blogs and mostly talk to each other). This is the gamesmanship, the insider's guide to politics. Most people who vote never give a dime to a candidate. And the overwhelming majority of voters don't give a damn about any of this.