The Money Chase, May 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 $229k - and were extending their lead by $616/day (over the previous 90 days.) This month, the House Dems lead by $262k - and are extending their lead by $639/day.

Last month, the Senate Dems led the Senate GOP by a margin of $66k- and the Senate Republicans were gaining on the Democrats by $117/day over the last 90 days. This month, the Senate Dems lead by only $33k - and the Senate Republicans are gaining on the Democrats by $997/day over the last 90 days. Most of that was a big fundraiser in March, as the Republicans are only beating the Democrats by a $294/day pace over the last 30 days.

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

 Senate DemsSenate GOPHouse DemsHouse GOP
last updated4-23-20084-29-20084-27-20084-25-2008
2007 starting balance$47,883$30,321$104,542$79,910
current total$397,343$364,018$780,818$518,739
cash contributions251194383194
average contribution$1,354$1,651$1,744$1,932
daily pace (last 90)$644$1,641$2,171$1,533
daily pace (last 30)$780$1,074$2,252$1,259



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 May 1, 2008. Because campaigns can choose to delay their reporting up to 7 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.

  • (Show?)

    This is an interesting, but largely irrelevant chart. The House D's broke early fundraising records in 2006, but their candidates were still outspent by a fairly wide margin in every targeted race, save one.

    There are two or three dozen individual donors on the Republican side who can (and will) wipe out a $100,000 fundraising lead with a few strokes of a pen.

    Also, Republican donors generally give more money directly to candidates than do Democratic donors.

  • Randle McMurphy (unverified)

    Permit me my monthly rant about the relevance of cash on hand:

    The Democratic House caucus has $498k in the bank. The Republican House caucus has $27.5k. Granted, the Republican House caucus appears to have already invested in research and perhaps has prepaid some of its mail (though the 30k paid to Mercury Consulting could be general consulting fees).

    If you were running a House campaign, wouldn't you pay attention to this discrepancy? Amongst other things, it means that the Democratic caucus has flexibility in their targeting decisions, which is necessary because it is too early to conduct reliable comparison polls. The Republican caucus literally does not have the resources to target even one race at this point. In fact, they can't make any significant expenditures without considering whether they will make payroll.

    My point is that cash on hand is a relevant variable that should be considered along with the data listed above. I'll mention it again next month.

  • Kev (unverified)

    Randle makes an excellent point.

    But the House Rs this year (unlike 2006) are facing many serious primaries. They're spending an awful lot on consultants and mail this early. From a campaign perspective, it wouldn't make any sense to prepay mail for the fall, especially when (1) you have low cash on hand and (2) this early you don't know where the truly targeted races will be.

    To Sal's point, the big R donors will give big only if they believe they have a real chance of getting the majority back. The Rs have serious candidates in only 31 seats, and even some of them have problems (read: Matt Wingard). At best the House Rs come back with 27 seats. If Hunt does his job, I think he can take the Ds to 36 against this weak crop of R candidates.

  • (Show?)

    And something that isn't accounted for in all of this is money being spent by the Oregon Republican Party.

    We received a letter yesterday from the ORP. Apparently they're trying to run someone in Senate District 25 (Laurie Monnes Anderson, D), even though the Republican ballot is empty. They're trying to get someone on the November ballot via write-in. And with my husband re-registering at the last moment, the ORP thought he was still a Republican when they mailed out the letter.

    <h2>I wonder how many other places they're doing this? They may be doing it in House and Senate districts where we thought our candidate would be without any Republican opponent in November.</h2>
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