Monday, April 17, 2006

$$$$$$$$$$$$ - - - - - First District Style

For a complete breakdown of the fundraising/expenditures please visit this post by Krusty Konservative. For a complete breakdown of what it all means to the candidates, their supporters, and the 1st District, read on...

Democrats

Bruce Braley seems to continue to pull ahead. Granted I'm not as in tune to the Dem race as I am the GOP, but word on the street is that this race is all but sewn up.

I'm not sure if I buy into that line though. Braley may have lots of money, but where does it come from? Taking a look at his disclosure is like reading an atlas. A large proportion of his donations range in geographical origins from California to New York. In this case, money does not necessarily equal support. The question is, will Bruce Braley use it efficiently to translate dollar signs into true supporters on June 6th.

Rick Dickinson is still very much in the race. He certainly has an uphill battle ahead of him, with a $106K cash on hand disadvantage to Braley. However, having $142K in the bank is definitely enough to compete. Also notable, he is largely financing his campaign right out of Dubuque County. Those people can actually vote for him, and they very much believe in their "home-town boy."

Bill Gluba...what can ya say? The guy has $22K in the bank and expects to win. I admire his optimism. We'll see if his left-over name ID from previous races will pay off. To his credit, his are the only Democratic yard signs I've seen in my neighborhood so far.

Much to the detriment of Bill Gluba, I think the Dem primary is going to shape up to be a battle of media buys moreso than the GOP race. There hasn't been as much real news in the media regarding the Dem race as there has been on the Republican side, meaning they will need to do a better job with their paid media. This is where Brailey steps up and takes it away. He can use his money effectively to make Gluba an afterthought, and really put some hurt to Dickinson. Rick, on the other hand, may have a better local ground game. Your thoughts?

Republicans

Here's the race I've been focused on lately. Aside from the candidates and their staffs, I don't think you'll hear anyone declaring there to be a true frontrunner in this race.

Bill Dix has without a doubt shown his fundraising prowess. Out-raising even the Dems' Bruce Braley, Dix has pulled in over half a million dollars to date. Not too bad for a Congressional primary in Iowa. Also to Dix's credit, he has been pretty frugal with his campaign checkbook. He still has 301K in the bank.

The trick for Dix, though, is going to be turning all that cash into actual votes on June 6th. Whereas I mentioned this as a must-do for Brailey, I think it will be an honest struggle to accomplish for Dix. I think his success with the money has been due largely to a great fundraising consultant on his team, and his ties in the statehouse, though let's not forget that Dix truly is a genuinely trustworthy guy.

I worry for Bill Dix that his time spent this spring in Des Moines has done more harm than good for his campaign. He has been able to fundraise for sure (a donor is only a phone call away), but has he been able to put together a good ground game during that same period? Also, while he uses his prior experience in the legislature as a positive for his campaign, I question what he actually was able to accomplish during this session. His no-home-loans-for-illegal-immigrants bill didn't even make it out of committee in the Senate, and he was embarassingly shot down by pesky House rules when he later tried to sneak it in as an amendment to another bill. To his credit, however, I do believe his bill restricting the use of eminent domain was passed, and has proven to be quite popular. So, maybe this session was a wash for Dix. That being the case, the question is, is his past record in the statehouse (which is really all he has to run on) something worth boasting about? We'll let the campaigns and the voters sort that one out in the next two months.

Brian Kennedy is far behind Bill Dix in the money war, but claims that isn't the game he's playing anyway. Kennedy still has a respectable $165 in the bank, which is more than two of the Dems and the GOP's Mike Whalen. Taking this into account, as well as my comments about Dickinson's cash disadvantage, I also think Brian Kennedy is very much a contender.

This is where Krusty and I differ. He has dismissed Kennedy as a candidate because he didn't raise much last quarter. I think that it's the COH number that really matters in the final two months though, coupled with a good ground game. This is where Kennedy makes up lost ground on Bill Dix. From what I've seen (trying to bar all the propaganda from the Kennedy campaign on this issue), I do believe he is ahead in this respect. The problem for Kennedy is going to be how to make the most of the money he does have. He clearly can't fundraise like Bill Dix, and while he released a memo showing he and Whalen's willingness to combat Dix with their own funds, I don't think he can go checkbook to checkbook with Mike Whalen even if he wants to.

The key for Kennedy is going to be to convince people that the money really doesn't matter. I think he has a shot if he uses his money wisely and takes his grassroots movement to the next level in these last two months. I think the Dix and Whalen people really mock this approach, but what they are discounting is that this has been Kennedy's strategy since Day 1. Do you think Brian Kennedy is sitting around fretting because Bill Dix raised half a million dollars? I don't for one second. To him, his grassroots campaign is more than just feel-good Republican talk. He actually DOES it. To my knowledge, he is the only candidate of the six to go door to door so far, and I believe he started doing that last fall. I think it is also uncontested that he had the strongest show of support at the County Convention level too. Kennedy's supporters seem to be the most passionate about their candidate...The question to him is, are there enough of them to win? Also, to his advantave/detriment (only time will tell), he has cast himself as the leader on the immigration issue. How will this play in June?

Mike Whalen sits comfortably with $130K in the bank. While it is less than his two opponents, everyone knows he can change that with the stroke of a pen if he chooses. Because of this, he is the real wildcard in the race. On the finance issue, it is interesting to note how much cash candidate Whalen has blown through so far. While Dix and Kennedy have spent around $200K or less, Whalen has spent over $360,000. This has to absolutely be eating this guy up inside, because aside from a few polls he paid for, and A LOT of barnsigns, I am not sure what he really has to show for it. I think he is very much in the running, but I don't think he's "I've outspent Kennedy 2 to 1 in-the-running" unless he's got some secret up his sleeve that I can't discern from his FEC report.

Whalen does benefit, however, from a name ID advantage he's had from the beginning. Whalen has been a longstanding member of the business community in Iowa with his hotels and restaurants, and he knows a lot of people. The question for him is, "Do the people I know actually LIKE me?" I have heard some Mike Whalen horror stories. But, much as Kennedy's plan was never to win with big money, I don't think Whalen's plan was ever to win with true grassroots support. Whalen is into the raise-and-spend model of campaigning. Unfortunately for true conservatives, I'm scared that his plan may actually work for him.

Quick GOP summary: Dix has raised the most, but hasn't translated it into real support. However, most of his money still sits in his bank account, so how he spends it will be a deciding factor in this race. Kennedy is focusing on the party faithful, not worrying about his short-stacked situation. How he spends what he does have is going to be even more critical than with Dix, because he's got less of it, though, and he may be up against a wall if he has to wage a battle on two fronts. Whalen has unlimited funding if he chooses to exercise it, but I think he's losing favor quickly with true conservatives in the district. He needs to make up for that somehow if he's to win this race.



All candidates have strengths to showcase, and weaknesses to overcome between now and June 6th. Let the real fun begin!!!

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have any idea how much it costs to go up on TV in Davenport and Cedar Rapids?? Have you researched this at all??

"142K is definitely (SIC) enough to compete."

Well yeah if you are planning on running a 1950's style campaign where you drive around in a van with a megaphone.

" I think the Dem primary is going to shape up to be a battle of media buys moreso than the GOP race."

How do you figure? Is Dickinson going to generate the 200K more that he needs to make a remotely relevant TV buy?

As I read on it's good to see that you use the same faulty premise that you used in the Dickinson argument to boast your boy Kennedy.

And this grassroots stuff is just great. You are so deep in the Kennedy kool-aid that you can't see the forest through the trees. Even if grassroots won campaigns (which it only does in circumstances where the race is extremely tight), what proof do you offer that Kennedy has the best grassroots. I don't see a list of county chairs or precinct chairs anywhere? I don't see Kennedy people all around the district. If you are going to make that statement at least back it up.

You are entitled to your opinions Scoop since its your blog, but it would be nice if you had an idea what you were talking about before you posted.

By the way its "Braley" not "Brailey" but I'm sure Helen Keller would be flattered by your error

8:58 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Bill's Fundraiser said...

First, Scoop, let me thank you for the kind compliment regarding Bill's fundraising efforts. However, I do take issue with the conclusions you reach.

I have worked on MANY campaigns, and as a fundraiser, I've learned that you "work with what you've got." You can't turn some bum off the street into a Congressman just by hiring a good fundraiser. The salesman can only be as good as the product he or she sells.

Yes, my staff and I have worked tirelessly to raise money for Bill. But that's not why Bill is the first guy in the race to top 1/2 million bucks.

The reason donors give to Bill is because they see his ability to effectively represent us in Congress.

These aren't all rich guys in suits either. There are people who have never given a dime to a politician, but they open up their hearts and checkbooks when they meet someone as sincere, true, and dedicated as Bill Dix.

That's a rare thing in this world of politics, and that's the reason Bill is going to win this primary.

5:44 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Scoop Iowa said...

Make no mistake...Bill is no "bum off the street". Honestly, I don't think we've seen the best of him yet. I think he will come out of Des Moines in the next week or so and hit the ground hard, coupling that with the media his big money will buy. I think he is potentially the guy to beat right now. That said, I do think he has some weaknesses to overcome, and unless he addresses those, there is no free ride in this primary.

6:04 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Scoop Iowa said...

Anon 10:58...I think that Braley is raising money to spend it. I don't think he's going to sit around with nearly a half million dollars in his bank account just to watch it collect interest. As I said, I'm not as into the Dem primary as I am the GOP primary, but from what I do know about the candidates, I don't think Rick Dickinson is any push-over. I think he is a fighter, and he will give it everything he's got until election day. Dickinson obviously won't have the most paid media, but I think what he does will force Braley to use more than he would have to if Dickinson were a more passive candidate, and with all the money Braley's raised, the obvious choice for him is to buy more media. That's how it works.

As for my assertions about the Kennedy grassroots effort. You are right...There is no proof to back it up. This isn't something that can be measured with a yardstick or a guage of some kind. It is just the feeling I get when attending the county convention and visiting with my Republican friends. You are welcome to disagree, but this is how I perceive what I'm seeing.

Lastly, my apologies to the Braley campaign for the addition of the "i" in his name. I will fix that throughout the post.

6:15 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Dix's Fundraiser: Please tell me what Bill has done in the in the Legislature? Oh yes, he lost seats in the House when he was in charge. He is one of the reasons why we are at 51 to 49. Oh yes, I remember what he did for the good people of Iowa he put forth a meaningless piece of legislation on immigration reform. And we can't forget the touch play disaster he caused with reinvention of government.

6:26 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Also, Bills Fundraiser, you don't sound too inspired by Dix when you say you have to "work with what you've got." He may be personable, but he's no Congressman.

6:34 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bill's Fundraiser:

You have done an admirable job. No one discounts how hard you and your team have been working to raise money for Bill.

And trust me, he's gonna need it.

Scoop, Dix is a personable guy. But he's exactly the WRONG person to send to Washington. To wit:

1. While the campaign leader for the House, he lost seats. Not gained, but lost. I'd love to hear the explanation behind that.

2. While Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, state spending rose dramatically. And on top of that, darn near every "special trust fund" (those monies set aside for specific purposes) was raided and thrown into the General Fund in order to cover the bleeding of the State's overspending. I'll be interested to hear his explanation on that.

3. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he was one of the key architects in the entire gambling fiasco known as Touchplay. He was one of the leaders who implored the Iowa Lottery to "maximize revenues for the State" again, in an effort to cover up the dramatic and consistent overspending of the State budget. He and other leaders met or were briefed by the Iowa Lottery no fewer than 14 times on the progress of the TouchPlay rollout. To say that he didn't understand the impact the machines would have is at best, revisionist history. I will be interested to hear his explanation on that, too.

So, Bill's Fundraiser, you've done well. And that $300,000 in the bank will undoubtedly go to making Bill Dix look like something he's not: a conservative. You'll have fluffy TV ads, great radio ads, probably lots of print ads.

And you'll need it. Because those of us who have watched his record know all too well it's the kind of record that we DON'T want in Washington. In fact, it's the exact record that we see coming out of Washington and we're tired of it.

6:46 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Bill's fundraiser said...

My point in "working with what you've got" is that in this case - you have a great guy with a proven track record of performance, results, and principled action.

The result is a candidate with record breaking support from donors all corners of the district geographically, economically, and even folks of differing political philosophy.

I've worked on campaigns where the candidate had none of those attributes, and the results were commensurate with the caliber of the candidate.

6:53 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the deal with grassroots strength...it is best seen when you are actually amongst the grassroots.

Who has a better vantage point from which to judge grassroots strengh? Krusty and his love for Dix from the shell of ignorance that is the state capitol 150 miles away from the 1st District, or Scoop who seems to live and work in Eastern Iowa?

I'm putting my money on someone who's actually from the district.

7:18 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1058 here.
My only point about the "grassroots" is that there are measuring sticks. Precinct chairs would be one. Turnout at phone banks would be another. And the Kennedy folks that talk about it can never mention any specifics. They just say "it is best seen when you are actually amongst the grassroots." and "If you are in the District you would know." Well folks i'm in the District and I'm amongst the grassroots and I don't see it so give me something else or otherwise the rest of us will have to assume you are just making crap up because you've got no other arguments.

7:35 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger proudiowan said...

The interesting part of this GOP saga that nobody has mentioned is the FEC investigation hanging over Mike Whalen's head. I realize there aren't many Whalen bloggers around so this always turns into a Dix-Kennedy battle, but Whalen is perfectly viable too.

Does anyone else think he owes the public an explanation or update about the investigation before June 6th if he wants people to vote for him?

8:26 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone look at where Dickinson's cash came from this quarter? $30,000 of the $46,000 came from Dickinson's pocket. Yep, he's raising money at home all right! Sure Dickinson got money from Dubuque but there are 11 other counties in the district (or 10 if you go back to Dix's first campaign announcments).

Turning out voters in one county, no matter how dedicated they are, will not beat voters in all twelve counties. And raising $15,000 to $97,000 is hardly to be called 'in the race' he raised less than Gluba - the person Scoop panned in his post.

Braley has not only raised the most cash, he has received the most endorsements - including the Iowa Federation of Labor - that equals feet on the street and GOTV activity on election day. What will Dickinson and Gluba do? More volunteer telephone trees from their respective business offices?

This race is Braley's to lose.

9:58 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Scoop. Whoever has the best field operation will win. Media buys don't vote. A field operation is even more important in a primary race.

3:34 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Howard Dean said...

Grassroots wins elections not TV ads.

YYYYAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

3:43 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Alan Keyes said...

Grassroots and conservative values win elections not media buys...

Alan Keyes is making sense.

3:49 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Bob Vanderplaats said...

I agree with Howard and Alan

Grassroots is more important than TV buys when it comes to primaries in Iowa...

And it's time that No Child Left Behind is Left Behind!

4:01 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grassroots win elections. Astroturfing wins nothing.

5:40 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least on Krusty's sire phags aren't allowed to post using either people's names.

Its not right kids, no matter who you support.

12:03 PM, April 19, 2006  

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