The Money Chase, February Update: Legislative Caucuses

Here's the latest look at the money chase for the House and Senate party caucuses.

Last month, the House Dems led the House GOP by a margin of $146k - and were extending their lead by $2000/day (over the previous 90 days.) This month, the House Dems lead by $208k - and are extending their lead by 1900/day.

Last month, the Senate Dems led the Senate GOP by a margin of $97k- and were extending their lead by only $90/day. This month, the Senate Dems lead by $120k - and are extending their lead by $500/day (and $1500/day over the last 30 days.)

Here's the box scores and the charts for the four campaign committees.

 Senate DemsSenate GOPHouse DemsHouse GOP
last updated1-18-20081-25-20081-28-20081-30-2008
2007 starting balance$47,883$30,321$104,542$79,910
current total$336,827$216,297$582,368$373,397
cash contributions197106263126
average contribution$1,420$1,642$1,786$1,972
daily pace (last 90)$1,447$945$3,276$1,343
daily pace (last 30)$2,836$1,304$3,225$1,267



Note: The official names of the committees here are Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, The Leadership Fund (Senate GOP), Future PAC (House Dems), and Promote Oregon Leadership PAC (House GOP). These numbers do not include any dollars raised by individual candidates.

Technical notes on the jump...

We retrieved this data from ORESTAR on February 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. In order to measure campaign strength, these numbers include the initial cash-on-hand on January 1, 2007 plus all funds raised since then.

Why not look at cash-on-hand? Because it doesn't lend itself to an apples-to-apples view. The goal is to provide a snapshot view that compares the financial strength of the statewide campaigns and legislative caucuses. Does a low cash-on-hand mean that a campaign is failing to raise money? Or does it mean that they're spending money on big-ticket items like polling, direct mail, and television? We assume that campaigns spend money in whatever way they think is most strategically smart. So, looking at the total funds raised since January 1, 2007 (plus the opening balance that day) is the best snapshot of overall financial strength.

  • LT (unverified)

    Glad to see the fundraising totals. A good sign Democrats raise more money than GOP.

    Now, maybe this year we can have a more intelligent discussion of how that is spent than "we have limited resources so we have to target races with a better R to D ratio"? Now that we know how well Peralta and Gilbertson did even in the face of that "ratio", and even with less money just before the primary than the amounts some at FP were saying an unknown candidate had to have in "seed money to be taken seriously", maybe this is a good year to have a more common sense process? Maybe there can be more training for candidates in districts which are still R rather than "if you want to be a candidate you need to have fundraising expertise and a good campaign manager because that matters more than ideas or knowing your district" which has seemed to be the FP mantra for years.

    And don't think I am only angry about FP in the 21st century. Long before Rep. Hunt was elected to the Oregon House or Sen. Devlin was elected to the State Senate, there was a time (would have to look up the year--in the 1990s, I think) when a very colorful former state senator who had been a legislator and candidate for both statewide and federal office decided to run for state senate to return to the legislature. A close friend of mine was her campaign manager. She called right after some caucus campaign event, and I had to hold the phone a couple inches from my ear because she was so angry!

    It seems some "consultant" or "expert" had told the gathering that all name familiarity expires on New Year's Eve and thus a new candidate and someone who has been around a long time both have to raise exactly the same amount of money because when they file for office they both have zero name familiarity.

    I know Kari said something about the punditology results showing consultants know what they are doing when they predict winners.

    But there are highly professional staffers with track records of getting candidates elected, and then there are those who proclaim to be experts but just drive volunteers out of politics in frustration. Which is what my friend did after that election--leave politics.

    If money and caucus attention really guaranteed election results, Rob Brading would be running for re-election.

    For the caucuses to be taken seriously (and to prevent discussions of campaign finance reform and nonpartisan legislature which they'd find distasteful) this should be a year not to declare winners and losers in advance but to prevent situations like one I know happened in 2006.

    At the State Central Comm. meeting to elect State Chair, I saw a rural SCC member who was a former candidate talking to M. Smith. He said she had been very helpful in his campaign, "it was only Future Pac which was no help".

    If the caucuses can't be held accountable (or if there are people complaining that I even wrote that last paragraph because they think all good Democrats should give unquestioning support to FP or any other caucus campaign arm) then why should anyone oppose nonpartisan legislature---or for that matter remain a registered D after the primary rather than registering NAV?

  • (Show?)

    The Republicans are playing possum. The spent $1 million more than Democrats in contested races in 2006, despite the fact that we were seeing similar "money race" numbers back then.

    If the Republicans are going to put everything they have into taking the House in 2008. I wouldn't be surprised if their candidates outspend Democrats by $1.5 to $2 million in 2008.

    <h2>They need to retake the House if they want to retain any hope of not being redistricted into oblivion, especially since it looks like they have no shot at the SOS position.</h2>
open discussion

connect with blueoregon