The Money Chase: Secretary of State Campaign Fundraising Totals

Note: This post updated on 2/3/08 to fix a substantial error. We had the 2007 starting balances for Senators Metsger and Walker reversed, which made the campaign totals inaccurate (though the daily pace and average contributions were correct.) Brown and Avakian were correct originally. The box score and chart below is now accurate.

Oregon's campaign finance system changed in 2007. No longer do campaigns report their financial data on particular deadlines. Instead, they report their contributions and expenditures on a daily basis (optionally delayed up to 30 days.)

Here at BlueOregon, we'll report these numbers to you on a monthly basis - along with a "box score" and a chart to give some meaning to the numbers.

[Editor's note: We've added a methodology clarification below.]

As the late great Jesse Unruh once said, "Money is the mother's milk of politics." That's a bit cynical, to be sure, but for political junkies like us, fundraising (and polling) are the scoreboards that keep us entertained until election results roll in.

Without further ado, the race for Secretary of State. (Later today, we'll post the Attorney General race, and the Democratic and Republican House and Senate caucuses. The U.S. Senate race is on the federal reporting system.)


last updated12-31-200712-30-200712-14-200712-28-2007
2007 starting balance$7,575$95,771$40,178$11,678
current total$45,584$293,149$70,583$64,702
cash contributions8935628110
average contribution$423$542$1,085$475
daily pace (last 90)$334$1,094$303$270
daily pace (last 30)$399$1,228$695$232

[A few technical notes: We retrieved this data from ORESTAR on January 1, 2008. Because campaigns can choose to delay their reporting up to 30 days, some recent data isn't available yet. The "daily pace" is based on the last 30 or 90 days for which we do have data. Our chart starts in July 2007 because most campaigns didn't raise money during the legislative session. The "average contribution" is based on actual cash contributions since January 1, 2007 - while the "current total" includes in-kind contributions, sold items, interest income, and the starting balance. Also, some campaigns lump together under-$100 contributions into a single line item - so the number of contributions may be slightly understated and the average contribution slightly overstated. And yes, we'll include Republican candidates - if any of them ever decide to run for statewide office in Oregon ever again.]

Update: A brief note on our methodology... These numbers include the initial cash-on-hand on January 1, 2007 plus all funds raised since then. We're attempting to measure campaign strength, and it matters whether you start at zero or $100k. The graph reflects this reality, and we've added a "starting balance" line to the box score for additional clarity.

So, there's the data. Discuss.

  • Fact Checker (unverified)

    You might want to check your numbers again.

    Brown is at $193K raised, not $293K Walker is at $53K raised, not $93K

    You may want to check the rest of the numbers too...

  • (Show?)

    FC -- I think I know what you're missing.

    Brown started the election cycle (January 1, 2007) with a balance of $95,771.27. She has since raised $197,277.97. That's a total of $293,049.24.

    Walker started the cycle with a balance of $40,178.66. She has since raised $53,024.50. That's a total of $93,203.16.

    Which is what's reflected on the charts...

  • Fact Checker (unverified)

    It does seem odd to include money raised before they declared for Secretary of State.

    Isn't the point of the chart to show how much support each is garnering for their candidacy?

    If not, and the point is simply to show how much money they have, then shouldn't the chart reflect cash on hand?

  • (Show?)

    That's an interesting question. My goal is to look at how much money the campaigns started the 2007-2008 cycle with - and how much they raise over the course.

    Cash on hand is a lot tougher measure, because campaigns spend money in different ways at different times. One presumes that each campaign spends its money in whatever fashion they believe is strategically most advantageous.

    In other words, if a campaign's cash-on-hand suddenly drops, does that mean that they're weak (wasting money, failing to raise, etc.) or does it mean they're strong (spending on polling, early media buys, etc.) You can analyze that, but it doesn't lend itself easily to a box-score sort of approach.

    It seems to me the appropriate measure of strength is opening-balance on 1/1/07 plus contributions since then.

    But I'm open to suggestions. Some have suggested including a count of $1000+ donations, or indicating the percentage raised in state. (Those are interesting stats for various political reasons - but don't really apply to measuring the strength of the campaigns.)

  • (Show?)

    Editor's note: We've added a clarification on our methodology above. We added a "starting balance" line to the box score, so that it's clear how much money campaigns started 2007 with and how much they've raised since then. The numbers are unchanged.

open discussion

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