Sunday, October 18, 2009

3rd Quarter Campaign Finance Questions Answered

Last week we raised 10 key items to monitor as 3rd quarter campaign finance reports trickled in. Now we have (most) of the answers:

1. The Blunt-Carnahan TIEBREAKER quarter: Congressman Blunt won his second straight quarter in a row to take a $430K cash on hand lead in what is expected to be one of the most expensive 2010 U.S. Senate races in the country.

2. PAC Money With PUNCH: Blunt and Carnahan's full reports are not yet posted on the FEC website, so we can't yet evaluate the amount of PAC money each raised over the last three months.

3. 7th District Candidates Who Topped $100K: Only Billy Long. He raised $104K.

4. Bill Stouffer's advantage over Vicky Hartzler: Non-existent right now because of Hartlzer's $105,000 loan. The loan has kept her in the game, actually propelling Hartzler to a $10 K cash on hand advantage over Stouffer. The question now is if she's willing to spend it.

5. Tom Schweich's BIG MO, Does it make him the frontrunner? Yes. It turns out all that GOP establishment deal-cutting matters. Schweich more than doubled-up GOP Budget Chair Allen Icet in fundraising for the State Auditor race. His donations show he's also making inroads in Southwest Missouri, critically important in any GOP primary.

6. Is Tommy Sowers another Joe Allen? Nope. His fundraising numbers proves he's the real deal. The buzz is that his brain is even more impressive. Sowers raised a little $200K and finished $3,000 ahead of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson in cash on hand. Of course, now he's got the GOP's attention. Ironically, one of Missouri's smartest political observers pointed out to me that Ike Skelton could be Tommy Sowers' biggest roadblock to a real race. The more time and money the DCCC has to use to defend Skelton, the less that will be available for longshots like Sowers.

7. Who's got the small size donors? Since they don't need to be itemized, it's really tough to tell. Only Tom Schweich touted "dozens of contributions" of less than $100. Sen. Gary Nodler calculated an average donation size of $337. Of course on the state level, there's really no incentive to pick up small donations because there are no contribution limits.

8. Does Darrell Moore raise 20K? Yes. 7th District candidate Moore reported $28K, in the ballpark where he needed to be. Too bad he spent most of it, leaving him with just $11K on hand.

9. Billy Long's burn rate vs Jack Goodman's burn rate: All campaigns account for their expenses differently. And when the reports came out, allies of Long's rivals began grumbling about how few disbursements Long had. Still, the numbers show Long has spent just 10% of what he's raised cycle to date. Goodman's number was eye-popping to politicos across the spectrum. The Mt. Vernon State Senator has spent a staggering 40% of what he's raised since the start.

10. How big was Nodler's margin of victory? Zilch. The conventional wisdom was wrong. Team Long smartly played down expectations and Nodler raised $77K to Long's $104K.

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