Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moneyball Approacheth

Two days before third quarter campaign finance reports will be made public, political aides and allies are furiously lowering expectations for their candidates in a fundraising environment that in many ways mirrors that national economic slump.

Campaigns closely guard their numbers and strategically release them at a time and in the venue of their choosing. Most will trickle out summary reports Thursday. Inevitably, some will be leaked earlier to targeted media outlets for specific reasons. But not much of it is accidental.

The psychological impacts of the reports on the shape of the race are almost as valuable as the raw dollars. And some camps have conjured up more ways to spin their numbers than actual donors. As a result, The Notebook has prepared a simple study sheet to help guide you through Thursday's mountain of dollar signs and zeros.

Here are 10 KEY ITEMS to ponder:

1. The Blunt-Carnahan TIEBREAKER: Robin easily won the first quarter; Roy came roaring back in Q2 -- giving him a $400K overall lead. If he maintains or expands his cash-on-hand advantage on anti-Obama momentum, count it a win for Blunt. Both will have the cash necessary to run an all-out slugfest. This is more about mind games.

2. PAC MONEY with PUNCH: Carnahan's already gone after Blunt for insurance money. What other potential radioactive political action committee dollars are on each candidate's balance sheets for oppo-researchers to use as ammunition?

3. How many 7th District candidates top $100K in Q3.

4. Putting aside that the 4th Quarter will be more telling than the 3rd, how much of a financial advantage will Sen. Bill Stouffer's incumbency give him over former Representative Vicky Hartzler in the 4th District GOP primary?

5. Does Tom Schweich's establishment big-money support solidify him as the GOP frontrunner in the campaign for State Auditor?

6. In the uphill 8th District for Democrats, is Tommy Sowers another Joe Allen -- or anything more?

7. Which candidates tout the most small-size donors ($100 or less) -- and take the time to point it out.

8. Does Darrell Moore raise at least $20K in the 7th District, and if so, does it make him a more credible dark horse?

9. Billy Long's burn rate vs. Jack Goodman's burn rate.

10. Gary Nodler should win the 3rd Quarter in the 7th District -- but how big is his margin of victory?

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