May 23 - Foes Clash Over Cash - Mark Pazniokas
May 25 - Small Donors Aid Lamont - Mark Pazniokas
The first focuses on the Lieberman campaign making an issue of Lamont's personal wealth and his willingness to contribute to his own campaign. Here are the interesting bits (without much context, I encourage you to click on the link):
"I am confident they want as their senator somebody who has had the experience of growing up in this state, living the lives they have lived," Lieberman said.
"We started nearly $5 million behind an 18-year incumbent," Lamont said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. "My contribution amplifies the voices of thousands of our supporters who want to change our priorities in Washington."
"Having between $90 million and $300 million, Ned Lamont can not only try to buy a seat from Connecticut in the U.S. Senate, he can probably buy a seat in a couple of other states if he wanted," Lieberman said.
Tom Swan, Lamont's campaign manager, said his candidate is not taking special-interest money, unlike Lieberman.
"The additional $500,000 is still way less money than what Joe Lieberman has raised from Washington, D.C., special interests," Swan said. "It's not in Joe Lieberman's interest to make an issue of sources of campaign contributions."
This is an interesting strategy by Lieberman's team, that I, personally, don't think will resonate. First of all, much of the state population-wise (from Stamford to roughly Danbury in one direction and New Haven in the other) are in the NYC media market and, in the last 6 years or so have watched John Corzine spend far more than $1 million of his personal money to "buy" a senate seat and than the governor's mansion (NJ). The politically engaged Democrat will look at the amount, shrug, and vote their values. The non-politically engaged will not be voting in the Democratic primary.
Second, and unfortunately, this is the way the system works. And what a perverse system it is when the very rich guy who spends his fortune actually smells cleaner than the rich guy who spends PAC and corporate bundles! Given Lieberman's reliance on out-of-state sources of money in PAC and large corporate bundles, I think he treads down this road at his own peril.
Finally, I don't (and I imagine the average nutmegger would agree) need to hear this: "I am confident they want as their senator somebody who has had the experience of growing up in this state, living the lives they have lived" out of the mouth of someone who is worth between $431,059 and $1,675,000 (source: 2004 Financial Disclosure Report) to attack someone who is worth between $90 million and $300 million. [For the record, the Courant article says that Senator Lieberman is worth "no more than $940,000, based on his financial disclosure statement." Which disclosure statement is not noted.]
With all due respect to the Senator, he is not personally aware of the effect of revaluation (my house doubled) and the new mill rate (down about 2 mills) will have on my ability to pay my property taxes (hint: not good). Nor is he personally aware of how the bankruptcy bill, that he voted against but, when the chips were down, he voted for cloture, will effect nutmeggers who will have to declare under the new rules.
Leaving aside the very rich and the merely rich, none of these guys is like the average Connecticut voter; we are free to vote our values.
Also, a little post-convention spin:
Lieberman downplayed losing one-third of the Democratic convention vote over the weekend to Lamont.
"I will take a 2-1 victory, which is what I was lucky to have at the state convention, any day and in any campaign in which I am involved," Lieberman said.
This is just laughable. Pre-convention, they were setting the bar impossibly high for Lamont (35%) and he exceeded all reasonable expectations and almost met their unreasonable ones. When that 2-1 margin was announced, every Lieberman supporter got nervous.
The second article talks about Lamont's fundraising from individuals, especially stemming from his endorsement by Democracy For America (now raised over $60,000 for the Lamont campaign). Here are the money graphs:
Tom Swan, the manager of Lamont's campaign, said Lamont has raised $620,000 from individuals, in addition to the $1 million provided by the candidate.
Lieberman, a three-term incumbent, has raised about $7 million since his re-election in 2000.
Make this point number 4 above to why Lieberman's strategy of making an issue of Lamont's wealth is risky: After contributing a million ($1,000,000!) of his own money to the campaign, he is still has about 5.375 million dollars ($5,375,000!) raised less than the Lieberman campaign. Buying the election? Or the biggest longshot underdog in recent memory?
As I wrote this, the fundraising story got a little sunnier for the Lamont campaign. In the MoveOn.org online primary, he took 85% of the vote to Lieberman's 14% (I received an email, the press release is not currantly online). MoveOn now will jump into the fray on the Lamont side, presumably with fundraising emails and issue advocacy ads. It will be very interesting to see how much cash the campaign brings in as a result of this endorsement and whether any MoveOn ads are played and their effectiveness. [The MoveOn endorsement is really seperate news and I will do a seperate post on it later, but it was relevant here so I had to mention it.]
Courant May 23, 2006 - Foes Clash Over Cash - Mark Pazniokas
Courant May 25, 2006 - Small Donors Aid Lamont - Mark Pazniokas
Journal Inquirer May 18, 2006 - Out-of-staters boost Lieberman warchest in April; Lamont late to file - Don Michak
May 24, 2006 - How Much Are YOU Worth, Senator Lieberman? - Branford Boy
Joe Lieberman's 2004 FDR - OpenSecrets.org
May 26, 2006 - MoveOn.org Press Release - Lamont Wins MoveOn Endorsement for U.S. Senate