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