The Money Chase, April 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 $224k - and were extending their lead by $1700/day (over the previous 90 days.) This month, the House Dems lead by $229k - though they're only extending their lead by $616/day.

Last month, the Senate Dems led the Senate GOP by a margin of $106k- and were extending their lead by $250/day. This month, the Senate Dems lead by only $66k - and the Senate Republicans are gaining on the Democrats by $117/day over the last 90 days. Over the last 30 days, it's even rougher - with the Senate GOP gaining on the Dems by $1845/day. Of course, the bulk of that appears to have been a $42,750 fundraising day on March 11 - including $30k from two individual Senators (Jackie Winters and Roger Beyer.)

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

 Senate DemsSenate GOPHouse DemsHouse GOP
last updated3-27-20083-15-20083-21-20083-18-2008
2007 starting balance$47,883$30,321$104,542$79,910
current total$373,993$307,489$697,803$467,907
cash contributions235144324162
average contribution$1,348$1,840$1,806$2,049
daily pace (last 90)$1,358$1,475$2,375$1,760
daily pace (last 30)$677$2,521$2,042$2,044

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 March 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.

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    I don't know who put this together, but it's damned impressive. Thanks.

  • COH (unverified)

    Isn't this the number that matters?

    FuturePAC-House Ds: COH $456,047.48 Promote Oregon-House GOP: $62,005.43

    Isn't that a 7:1 ratio?

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    Jeff, I did. And all the previous ones, too!

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    COH -- Sure, cash-on-hand matters a lot. But it depends on what they're buying. If, for example, the House GOP has a low COH because they've pre-paid for a bunch of media, then they're in a strong position, not a weak one.

    (I doubt that's the case, but it just illustrates my point. A low COH might be bad, or it might be good. We're in the time of year when a lot of primary campaigns, though not the caucuses, will be dumping cash to buy media. That's a sign of strength, not weakness.)

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    Exactly. Campaigns may have a number of items pre-paid, such as media buys, lit buys, etc. This means they have a low cash on hand because they've already purchased items that are going to be used later in the campaign.

    Also, you get situations like Hillary Clinton's campaign. They "have" $11 million cash on hand. But there is a $5 million loan from herself and almost $9 million in bills the campaign has been sitting on - some since before Iowa's vote. Her cash on hand makes it seem like she's doing better than she is - like she has money to spend when she is actually in the red.

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    Not only that, my understanding is that some significant amount of Hillary Clinton's "cash on hand" is in the form of general election contributions from donors who have already given her $2300 for the primary campaign, and that can't be spent unless she is nominated.

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    <h2>Right. The $11 million I mentioned was primary-only cash on hand. But there's regularly a $30 million cash on hand number thrown around. Problem, of course, is that $19 million can't be spent until after the primary race is over.</h2>
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