Friday, July 16, 2010

Money money money money.... Texas governor's race...

Rick and Bill White raised similar amounts in the most recent period, but Bill White has more on hand. Rick has raised more in total in this campaign cycle, just just had to spend more in his primary against Kay and Debra Medina (link). Excerpt follows...

White holding own in campaign fundraising

Most recent polls show Republican Gov. Rick Perry leading Democratic challenger and former Houston Mayor Bill White, but the incumbent trailed in the most recent round of competition for campaign contributions, financial reports released Thursday show.

Perry reported raising more than $7 million between Feb. 21 and June 30, compared with White's $7.4 million. And White, seeking to be Texas' first Democratic governor since the mid-1990s, reported having more than $9 million on hand, topping Perry's $5.8 million, according to the reports.

But overall, Perry, who went through a costly primary battle with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has raised more than $20 million for this race, compared with White's $16.6 million, records show.

The Republican primary was bruising in some ways, in that it forced Rick to spend a lot of money on an intraparty battle... but in other ways I think it sharpened him for the general election...

The campaign finance news came as a new Rasmussen Poll showed Perry leading White, 50 percent to 41 percent, slightly up from a mid-June poll that showed Perry with a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over White. The new poll numbers are more favorable for Perry than a Public Policy Polling survey last month that showed White and Perry tied with 43 percent each.

Political observers cautioned Texans from reading too much into the latest campaign finance news.

That's especially true because Perry and White aren't even close to finished adding to their war chests, said Brian Roberts, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

"The notion that the candidate with the most money always wins, that's not always the case," Roberts said. "More often than not, yeah. But it's not a guarantee.

"Just ask Tony Sanchez," Roberts said, referring to the millionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2002 who lost to Perry.

White's camp said grassroots support for their candidate is strong: More than 75 percent of their individual contributors gave $100 or less, and more than 11,700 new contributors donated money since February.

Perry's staff said the governor drew donations from 14,837 donors this election cycle, an increase from the numbers in his previous gubernatorial races.

Rick's peeps should be absolutely ecstatic right now that Bill White only has 3 million extra dollars in the bank...

Rick has been out spent in every race he has ever run from what I have been told... usually by a lot more than 3 million dolllars...

3 million dollars buys you television. It buys you a lot of signs and pays a lot of staff and radio and other campaign trappings. It is not negligible... but let's get real... in a state as big as Texas... with the hill Bill White has to climb... and the wind he is running into... 3 million is a pretty small amount. We all learned this morning that Van Taylor spent 1 million just to win a primary in a Texas House race for example...

Bill White and his unaffiliated and completely separate (yeah right) Back to Basics PAC have spent well over a million dollars and perhaps 2 million or more on television ads alone... and look at the impact... Rick is sitting at 50. Bill White is stuck at 41. The Libertarian who has raised a few thousand dollars is getting 2%. The remaining 7% undecided will probably go 1-4% for Rick, 1-4% for Bill White, and 1-4% for the Libertarian/other(s).

Considering the cash flush Republican Governors Association has not yet played in this race but the less well funded Democratic Governors Association's contributions to Bill White comprise roughly half of his "money lead" over Rick, I think Rick has to be feeling very very very good in the money situation.

Rick will likely get some money from the burstingly rich RGA... if only because Rick has raised so many millions for them over the years and a large percentage of the RGA's donations come from Texas... White likely will get more money from the DGA but they would be smarter to direct their money toward winnable states... at some point some adults involved with the DGA are going to look at places like California and other large states and say, "you know what... Texas is a lost cause... but if we lose our blue state governors we are screwed on redistricting next year."

The same kinds of calculations will happen for the Republicans... and Texas is likely getting 3 or even 4 additional Congressional seats that must be redistricted next year... if Rick is not governor that could hamper GOP Congressional seats for the next decade...

In other words... look for all of the Washington, D.C. Texas Republicans Rick has such a hot and cold relationship with to play very very nice with Rick over the next year...

The only thing to remember is that Rick usually finishes strong in money... by design. His m.o. always seems to get a huge surge of cash right at the end of elections... Rick is like an elite marathon runner when it comes to campaigns... He keeps pace, keeps pace, keeps pace... then... with a couple miles to go... he turns on the juice and starts sprinting just as the others hit the wall and run out of energy...

The only way Bill White's "lead" would have been a big deal or a game changer is if he had 15 million on hand as some in the Texas rumor mill were speculating... even that probably wouldn't have been overwhelming enough... Bill White faces such an up hill against the wind battle that he has to swamp Rick 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 in expenditures... Rick basically can make a day's worth of phone calls and raise 3 million dollars.

The all too on message excitement that certain Democrats demonstrated yesterday about Bill White's significant yet modest cash on hand advantage is rooted in either ignorance/naivety or... it was completely feigned...

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.