12 October 2010

Money Matters for the Midterms

Assuredly, fundraising is not the end all and be all in winning elections, but it makes getting to that goal much easier.  So in the latter days of the campaign, it is telling to see how parties and other interests allocate their financial resources as it can offer a preview of what results when the ballots are being counted.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle has quite a challenge to get elected.  Angle is running against Senator Harry Reid, a four term incumbent and he holds the nationally prominent role as Senate Majority Leader.   Not only is Reid well known, but his Senate Leadership position and seniority allows him to have significant campaign coffers. Despite Nevada’s poor economy and general dissatisfaction over legislation during the Obama Administration, this is a formittible challenge, especially for a newcomer to the national scene.

In this anti-incumbent election that is energized by the TEA party activists, this challenge is not insurmountable.  Angle won her primary with the assistance of the Tea Party Express and certainly their contributions continue to help.  But Angle was the beneficiary of a money-bomb.  The Money Bomb was a technique popularized during the 2008 election cycle by Ron Paul advocates (a.k.a. PAUListinians) who do brief grassroots fundraising efforts over the internet.  Additionally, Rush Limbaugh slyly suggested that the election results in Nevada might be different if every listener sent Sharron Angle $1.  Angle announced her third quarter fundraising results were $14 million.  Wow.  It is unclear if this is due to Excellent in Broadcasting or Internet activism, but this will certainly keep Angle competitive in the home stretch of the campaign.

Regarding the fight for control of the House of Representatives, Politico is reporting that the DCCC is cancelling ad buys in four districts to reallocate resources to more winnable races.  This strategerie (sic) bodes ill for Democrats.  Ad buys were cancelled for two freshman in the last fortnight of the campaign–namely for Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) along the Space Coast and Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-FL) around Cincinnati.  The Democrats have also pulled ads for open seats in Indiana 8th (“the Bloody Eighth around Evansville and Terre Haute) and Tennessee 8th (Northwest Tennessee), both of which are conservative leaning districts. Roy Herron, the Democrat candidate in TN-8, is volunteering that he believes that the DCCC is pulling out support because Herron said that he would vote for Pelosi as Speaker. There is also news about trim backs of ad buys for districts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona.  This sounds like the DCCC is ceding seven seats.  All the House Republicans need to score is 40 seats for control of the Chamber.

In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski (?-AK) is still competitive because of her big campaign war chest and being able to tap into Democrat money men.  Murkowski is reported to still have $1.2 million in the bank.  Even before announcing her “Independent” write-in campaign, Murkowski was making overtures to Democrat super-lobbyist Heather Podesta, despite never having drawn support from her before.  Additionally, a Super PAC comprised of native corporations has raised $600,000 for Murkowski.  This sizable compaign coffer along with the Murkowski family name and the advantages of incumbency keeps Murkowski neck and neck with the Republicans.

In the Last Frontier State, polling is showing that there is a statistical tie between Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski (?-AK) with Democrat Scott McAdams signficantly behind.   I suspect that this PPP poll skewed the results because it listed Lisa Murkowski’s name along with other independent candidates in the questionnaire.  On election day, voters will need to write MURKOWSKI in but election officials may be somewhat lenient if the same is slightly misspelled.

Murkowski claims that she will continue to caucus with Republicans if she wins re-election, since Republican Senate leadership did not revoke her seniority or Committee Chairmanships when she rejected the results of the Alaska Senate primary.  But when she was recently asked which Senators she admires, Lisa Murkowski cited the legendary Senator "Tasmanian" Ted Stevens (R-AK) along with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).  Little Lisa said this despite being part of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s kitchen cabinet.  Whether or not she jumps the aisle, Murkowski demonstrates that she is just a RINO.

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