Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Money Race

DeStefano Outraises Rivals, Malloy Picking Up Speed

The declared gubernatorial candidates have released fundraising figures for the last quarter, and so far New Haven Mayor John DeStefano has continued to raise much more money than either of his opponents for the Democratic nomination. Here are the second quarter numbers, as reported by the Courant (figures are rough estimates):

DeStefano: $460,000
Malloy: $228,100
Bysiewicz: $225,000

The interesting thing about the bottom two numbers is that the Malloy campaign has only been raising funds again since mid-May, following a long, self-imposed hiatus while he was being investigated for corruption (he was cleared), while Bysiewicz and DeStefano have had since the beginning of April. In other words, Malloy has raised more money in six weeks than Bysiewicz did in twelve. If we assume that Malloy could raise money consistently, and extrapolate the original figure out over twelve weeks, here's what the numbers would look like:

DeStefano: $460,000
Malloy: $456,000
Bysiewicz: $225,000

That's close. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as Malloy had been the leader in fundraising before the investigation.

This extrapolated number also makes Bysiewicz's number seem a lot more worrisome for her. Couple this with what appears to be an invisible, moribund campaign, and it's tempting to write her off. This would be a huge mistake. Bysiewicz is the most formidable candidate in the race (more on that another time), and thrives when people underestimate her. Her fundraising numbers are puzzling, though. It could simply be that she hasn't been particularly aggressive in either fundraising or campaigning yet. After all, the primary is more than a year away.

The ever-rising stakes may make Jodi Rell's task that much more difficult if and when she enters the race. However, I don't think she'll have much of a problem. Her very public distaste for lobbyists and big-time fundraising will probably hinder her cash flow not in the least. She has the twin powers of incumbency and popularity to drive her fundraising: people want to back a winner, especially a likable one.

But does raising the most money really matter that much? Well, you could ask Steve Forbes or Ross Perot about that. The sad truth is that all the money in the world won't help a candidate people don't like and don't want to vote for. However, in a primary campaign that is shaping up to be more about personality and electability than issues (the three declared candidates don't disagree on much), money may prove to be crucial in creating and maintaining an attractive image, or destroying the image of a close rival.

As a gauge of the public's preference for a candidate, though, it's next to useless.

Source
Pazniokas, Mark. "War Chests Grow Richer." Hartford Courant 6 June 2005.

22 comments:

Ebpie said...

I agree that Bysiewicz is the candidate to beat, but it is interesting how she fell behind Malloy and DeStefano. She's raised $1.7 million overall so I don't think she has too much to worry about. Malloy is in Fairfield County and that helps a fair amount. He'll have to really kick it up over the next few months though if he wants to surpass Bysiewicz and DeStefano. Does anyone know anything about the Congressional races? When do we hear about their money?

Aldon Hynes said...

Let me state up front, that I don't know the details about the DeStefano fundraising. The first time I heard the $460,000 number was in the Courant article. Of course, I try not to find out about the fundraising numbers unless it is something that I can and should be blogging about.

That said, let me question the assumption that fundraising is even over the quarter. From every fund drive I've ever seen, a large percentage of the money comes in the last week. We are reporting that we raised $182,000 in the final week of the quarter.

That works out to be about 40% of the total for the quarter, and close to what Bysiewicz and Malloy raised altogether.

So, I do believe that the DeStefano campaign did a very good job in fundraising. I also believe that while a lot of the focus right now is on fundraising and personality, we will probably see better differentiation on the issues as we get closer to the election.

Genghis Conn said...

Aldon,

You're probably right in that fundraising wouldn't be consistent across the quarter. Still, the Malloy number is pretty strong for a guy who was supposed to be out of the race completely two months ago. Third quarter numbers will be interesting.

As for issues, which ones do you think we'll see some daylight between Democrats on? I have a suspicion that it's going to be more about electability than anything else. It's been almost twenty years since a Democrat last won a gubernatorial election in Connecticut, and over fifty since an incumbent governor was defeated for re-election.

Ebpie,

Fairfield County is an asset, no doubt about it. Bysiewicz is so far running a very different style of campaign than either DeStefano or Malloy, one that involves quietly getting town committees on her side and standing on the edge of the race, committing to nothing, for as long as possible. It's pretty low-cost.

Indian2Nighthawk said...

Dan had to have a big quarter. He likely, if he has any sense at all, had his financial supporters waiting in the wings for the quarter that he started up again. So the "six weeks" of fundraising is a bit deceptive.

And beyond DeStefano, no one has shown the consistent ability to raise money. Quarter after quarter DeStefano come in above 400,000; and everyone else is in the 200,000 range. At what point will you concede that DeStefano is far and away the Candidate who'll have the ability to compete in BOTH a PRIMARY and a GENERAL election.

Electability doesn't mean anything if a candidate blows their wad before the general starts

Genghis Conn said...

Indian2Nighthawk,

DeStefano has done very well at raising money so far. However, it's worthwhile to point out that Malloy was ahead of DeStefano before the investigation, although he did enter the race sooner. The third quarter numbers will be far more revealing than these.

Aldon Hynes said...

Genghis,

As noted elsewhere, I consider myself a friend of Mayor Malloy and folks involved with his campaign. I think it is wrong to minimize his fundraising success this quarter.

He did do well, and I think the third quarter numbers will be particularly interesting, not only because it will be a more valid comparision, but also because as we get closer to the election the easier money will have been raised and more of the focus will need to be on new donors.

Personally, I'm very interested in getting new people involved in Connecticut politics.

As to the issues, the poll on this site has most people looking at the economy and jobs as being the key issue. Even people suggesting other issues tie their issue back to the economy.

So, the questions that will differentiate Malloy and DeStefano are likely to be over how to get the economy going. What role will unions play? What sort of tax structure should be sought, etc.

Already we are seeing people looking at Malloy as being more centrist and less union oriented than DeStefano, although Malloy is quick to point out that his mother was very involved in unions.

As far as I can tell, the issue that will get the most play with Bysiewicz will be who likes kittens most. I'm not sure how that ties to the economy, but I'm sure it does.

I should note that this is looking though my personal crystal ball and is not influenced by my role in the DeStefano campaign, at least consciously.

Anonymous said...

indian2nighthawk said: "And beyond DeStefano, no one has shown the consistent ability to raise money."

Simply untrue. Malloy had raised more money before he stopped fundraising and obviously Bysiewicz has shown the ability to raise money statewide in other races.

Sheesh, can we get a "campaign staffer" tag to go next to some of the names on here, so at least the rest of us can tell what posts to bother reading?

Aldon Hynes said...

A problem with a campaign staffer flag is that it wouldn't work for people that post their comments anonymously.

I hope everyone knows I am a staffer for DeStefano but I also hope that people consider my posts worth reading.

Genghis Conn said...

Aldon,

Kittens aside, it's that lack of definition that makes Bysiewicz very dangerous. She can be anything.

And I certainly consider your posts worth reading. You have an insight that most of us simply don't have, and you're good about telling us who you work for when it's important.

Netim said...

Too much ahistorical spin!

Here's my take at reality:

DESTEFANO: A left-of-center Mayor of a poor city wasn't supposed to be able to raise money. He clearly has. And so far, his is the only campaign that is out there creating the organization to beat an incumbent - from the web-site to the house meetings. And the campaign has the most panache.

MALLOY: So he is good at calling rich folks. But wasn't he supposed to BLOW US AWAY with that rich Fairfiled crowd? He is definitely spending his time getting out there and touching base. That's a plus. But where's the campaign infrastructure?

BYSIEWICZ: What happened? A few years ago people thought she was going to be this fearsome, tireless force...and so far she has had subpar fundraising and absolutely no visibility or organizing.

OK, so maybe this is spin too, but from my vantage, I am looking for which campaign has the energy and focus to win against a popular incumbent. And only one so far has consistently beat expectations and moved forward.

Anonymous said...

Here are some thoughts from a Republican (and Rell supporter), so take them with a grain of salt.

I think DeStefano is the strongest Dem candidate. He is the only one with a vision (especailly around regionalization) that is new and different. Malloy has done a great job in Stamford, but I haven't heard anything beyond citing problems (e.g., we must "fix transportation", without suggesting what that fix is). Bysiewicz is running not because she has a vision, but because she wants to be Governor. This is why Kennely lost once and Curry lost twice...they has no vision besides "not Rowland".

Obviously, I am biased. But the one I am scared of is John DeStefano...not because of the money, but because of the a truly different vision of regionalization which presents a real choice to the voters of CT.

Indian2Nighthawk said...

Anonymous,

I don't work for the DeStefano campaign.

But for someone interested in disclosure of identities I find it funny that YOU are chosing to go with the label Anonymous.

Ebpie said...

I think it's far too early to count anyone out or say anyone has a huge lead in this race. We are over a year away from the primary and all three candidates have raised well over a million dollars. We still have a very, very long way to go. As far as I can tell DeStefano seems to be the most active, but who knows what will happen once Bysiewicz and Malloy pick up the pace. As a Republican and a Rell supporter(as of now) I don't think the Governor has a lot to worry about aside from making sure she has enough money. Her poll numbers are high enough that she can stay above the fray. The Democratic primary could get heated(especially if Sullivan jumps in) and that could drain a fair amount of the candidate's resources. As to campaign staffer posts I think it is great that they contribute. Aldon offers insight we wouldn't otherwise get. I hope Bysiweicz and Malloy staffers offer their personal takes in the near future. Indian2Nighthawk can tone down the rhetoric a bit.

Genghis Conn said...

Anonymous (er, the latest anonymous),

DeStefano certainly looks strong, and I agree that his is the clearest position on the issues. But what if issues don't matter too much?

Your assessment of Bysiewicz is absolutely correct. She wants to be the second coming of Ella Grasso, about whom she wrote a biography while still in college. She apparently has no concrete plans other than winning the office.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I don't find either DeStefano or Bysiewicz to be great candidates. Secretaries of the State hardly have had records worthy of the governorship, and Susan's tenure in the House is less than remarkable.

DeStefano can brag that he's made a hovel of a city ever-so-slightly more livable, but I doubt that message will resonate with suburbanites.

At least Malloy can point to Stamford as a model urban core and make a case that he has helped facilitate an economic boom.

The Dems would be far better off with a candidate like Blumenthal or John Larson.

superD said...

Look, all of the candidates have proven an ability to raise money. The Malloy situation for this quarter was unique -- he was issued a challenge after his exoneration -- raise moeny to prove you're a viable candidate. Regardless of what side your on, it is impossible to deny that he did it, and in a very big way. As someone who recieved a copy of his press release, he also noted that 40% of what he raised came from outside of Fairfield County, so those of you who consistently point to his "gold coast" roots are losing steam on this point.
As for Bysiewicz, she came into the race claiming that her strength was her ability to raise money and she's petering out. Next quarter will be incredibly telling for her. As for DeStefano, he's had several big quarters, the question will be can he sustain it going forward.

MikeCT said...

Genghis,

She apparently has no concrete plans other than winning the office.

This is Bysiewicz's reputation - that she is mainly interested in career advancement, not public policy. Also that she is incredibly difficult to work with and alienates colleagues.

DeanFan84 said...

Gosh, where to start?

How about with all the pre-conceived notions that are trying to be passed off as conventional wisdom?

First let's start with Rell-- quote, "She has the twin powers of incumbency and popularity to drive her fundraising: people want to back a winner, especially a likable one."

Say waaaaaaaaaah? What has Rell ever won, and how can you claim she is popular? W's daddy had approval ratings of over 90% during Gulf War I. But he lost to Clinton. Did he squander his popularity, or is the truth that Bush Sr. never really had a strong base of support? What these polls measure is name recognition, and surface perceptions. Rell might rate well int the moment, but she is exceedingly vunlerable in the face of our strong field of challengers. Why give Jodi a free pass? And please, tell me, what do people like about Rell? (outside of the "Grandma" factor.) Are you propagating a myth, or a realtiy?!?

Then there is this: "Bysiewicz is the most formidable candidate in the race...and thrives when people underestimate her." Please, again, you are dealing in CW to the point of almost appearing biased. What makes Susie so formidable in the Dem primary? Do tell. Yes, she surprised many in winning the SOS race, but Governor is different. Plus, in her zealousness she has alienated many within her own Pary. In terms of boosters, I haven't found many in Susie's camp, outside of the Usual Suspects, who will most likely jump ship as soon as it is convenient. I agree, Susie is a team player. But resonance, not Moxie, is what it will take to win the governorship.

Then there is this: "However, in a primary campaign that is shaping up to be more about personality and electability than issues, (the three declared candidates don't disagree on much) money may prove to be crucial in creating and maintaining an attractive image..." Again, waaaaaaaah? DeStefano is all about the issues, and not gloss, nor electability, nor the "eat her own young to win" factor. Yet somehow, he is emerging as the front-runner, and it is not about money. Is this b/c DeStefano is a Democrat that people can believe in? Where are those that believe in either Bysiewicz or Malloy? Do they exist? And really, you do a disservice to your readers to suggest that these three are substantively all alike. Malloy is a DLC booster, after all. i.e. Corporations, (aka Big Money) First.

Obviously I am not objective. I guess what I wish is that you would let your readership decide, instead of putting forward pre-conceived notions. And thank you for this important forum. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

I have seen both DeStefano and Malloy together at a forum (the Wilton One) and I don't understand how people can say that DeStefano is the clear favorite or the most electable. He may be able to raise a lot of money, but I think that is because right now, his campaign infrastructure is much better, but I remember reading somewhere that Malloy hasn't hired any professional fundraisers yet. Anyways, just from seeing the two candidates together, I was much more impressed by Malloy. DeStefano was cut off at least five times by the moderator for passing his time limit, he would ask questions of the audience, and the only person to respond would be a staffer, (or a staffer's wife). I think that it is unfair to call anyone the clear frontrunner right now or the most electable right now, but when the campaign begins to get more visible and has a lot of media coverage putting the candidates side by side, I can't imagine people finding Destefano to be more likable or electable. The only reason I haven't said anything about Bysiewicz is because I haven't seen her with the other candidates yet, which I find a little strange, but I have seen her speak by herself, and I don't think she is the strongest public speaker, so I have a hard time seeing her doing well when she is finally forced on stage with Malloy and Destefano. The only way I can see her suceeding at this point, is if Malloy and Destefano count her out and spend all their time and money tearing each other apart; then I say Susan will rise out of the mud and perhaps have a shot.

Genghis Conn said...

DeanFan,

There are many different versions of conventional wisdom out there. Every side, left, right and center, has its own unquestionable beliefs.

There is some solidity behind the claim that Rell is strong. Her poll numbers have been consistently good, she has a decent list of accomplishments (civil unions, minimum wage hike, etc.) to point to and the image of the grandmotherly schoolmarm is, so far, an effective one. There's also the fact that Connecticut really likes incumbents. The last time an incumbent lost in a statewide race was 1988, when Joe Lieberman beat Lowell Weicker for Senate. No incumbent governor has lost a re-election bid since Lodge in 1954. So, based on the numbers and on history, she's in a good position. Of course, she may turn out to be a lousy campaigner... in which case all bets are off.

I have a lot to say about Bysiewicz that will be contained in a later post, probably early next week.

I don't think there is a clear front-runner yet, even though DeStefano has raised more money. It's just too early.

As for your last comment, my opinion is just that: my opinion. I don't mind when people disagree with me. I've been wrong before!

FrankS said...

Genghis,

You comment on the Gov's races omits that Ribicoff, Meskill and Grasso did not seek re-election.

In statewide races, what about 1990 Kezer over Tashjian or 1994 Burnham over Suggs, though Suggs was an incumbant in name only.

Genghis Conn said...

Both Ribicoff and Grasso resigned, for different reasons (Ribicoff went to the Kennedy administration, Grasso was dying), and Meskill, who probably would have lost to Grasso in any case, was looking to join the federal bench.

You have a point about Kezer and Burnham, I had forgotten them. Still, it's pretty darn rare for incumbents to lose around here.