Monday, January 23, 2006

Me Worried, Need Money

Today's Washington Post highlighted a disturbing fact for the Democrat's chances in 2006. Unfortunately, as the party wanders the desert looking for a coherent and simple platform, they forgot the money.
For the year just passed, the RNC brought in nearly $102 million -- give or take a few hundred thousand -- and had $34 million in the bank. The Democratic National Committee raised $51 million in 2005 but showed $5.5 million on hand at the end of the year.This is the largest gap between the parties in more than a decade.

This issue is particularly troubling given the DNC traded in Terry Mcauliffe (great fundraiser/poor strategist) for Howard "then we're going to Nova Scotia!" Dean. Dean had his baggage; but was supposed to infuse the party with a focus on policy AND raise money. Now, there seems to be neither. We do know that Dean has been building a local presence in all 50 states and perhaps the money is all in the state's control - I wasn't able to find any information to confirm or deny this theory.

So, is the DNC better off today than it was 1 year ago? For me, it's hard to tell how much gains in Virginia and (somewhat) New Jersey are more in reaction to Bush or influenced/lead by the party itself. But if the DNC doesn't issue a corrective statement on this article (or some serious spin) this doesn't bode well for the Dean administration.

12 comments:

Otto Man said...

We do know that Dean has been building a local presence in all 50 states and perhaps the money is all in the state's control - I wasn't able to find any information to confirm or deny this theory.

According to the stories I've seen, Dean has done precisely this and the state coffers are overflowing as a result. I can't find the numbers either, but I remember reading them and being blown away by the Dem advantage at the state level.

And, in any case, the $51m that the DNC raised in 2005 is, as this Hotline piece notes, a record for off-year fundraising and a 20% increase over a comparable term in 2003. (Although I'd argue that 2005 can't be compared to 2003, since 2003 was the year ramping up to a presidential election and the money should've been much looser then.) So just by DNC terms, it seems Dean has been an improvement over McAullife in the one area McA was supposed to do well.

Democrats have always had a huge disadvantage in cash with the GOP and Dean's efforts have narrowed the gap, not widened it.

Smitty said...

A lot of the money here in MI is tied up in candidates; it's an election year here for Congress, 1 U.S. Senate seat, the State House of Reps, the State Senate, Governor, Secretary of State, AG and many judge-ships. Thus, the party has little, but the candidates have it all. For instance, Debbie Stabenow has $5.7 million + on-hand.

Otto Man said...

Looking through the comments at a MyDD post, I've found the 2001 DNC numbers, which are a better point of comparison than 2005. In 2001, under McA., the DNC raised $40.3m, and so the 2005 totals represent a 26% increase from the last post-presidential-election year.

And again, that's just the increase in the amount the DNC is keeping for itself. Dean has made raising cash for the states a big priority, and it would follow that the total amount the Dems have at the state and national levels is thus even larger than the quarter increase in the DNC.

Otto Man said...

In other news, the map image of Nova Scotia is getting my nomination for Most Unnecessary Blog Link of the year.

Seriously, are you involved in some sort of payola scheme with the Nova Scotia Tourism Board?

Thrillhous said...

I'm with OM on the DNC money (although not on the nova scotia link; you just can't ever have enough of those). The Dems probably will never be able to compete with Team Abramoff and K Street when it comes to raising money.

I think a big thing (I've read this on kos, but I don't have a link) is that the vast majority of the DNC money has come in the form of small-dollar contributions, under $50 I think. That's a big difference from the McAuliffe days, when he'd just pull up in his limo and some industry kingpin would slide a huge check through the window.

Which brings me to another point. McA was not my kind of DNC chair. I understand he did a great job at bringing in big dollars from corporations, but I always felt like he was almost as slimy as a republican operative. Dean definitely has his baggage, as you mentioned, but he's got sincerity going for him, and that's big.

Also, Dean is just about the only democrat who can get covered in the press. Sure, the Tim Russerts of the world are just hoping Dean goes nuts and says something really stupid (which he does on rare occassions), but at least he gets our message to a large audience.

Mr Furious said...

I just read something about this some time in the last day or so, I'll try and find a link. But if I recall, the gap used to be three to one and Dean has closed it to two to one. In addition, I believe Dean raised more money in an off-year than McAulliffe did during a Presidential election year.

I'll confirm that and get back, but I pretty sure that's what I read. I think some DC Dems are grousing because Dean is funnelling more money to the sate coffers than they would like, but I'm with Dean that that's where the money should be going.

Otto Man said...

Furious, I think we've read the same things, because all that sounds familiar. Let us know if you can find that link. StudioDave hasn't been able to sleep for days, he's so scared by this.

Studiodave said...

Did anyone appreciate the Simpson's title?

Mr Furious said...

I haven't found the thing I read in my "history", it was probably at home. There's this and here's a bullshit-laden piece from the WaPo in November:

Democrats Losing Race For Funds Under Dean
By Chris Cillizza
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, November 12, 2005; Page A01

The Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean is losing the fundraising race against Republicans by nearly 2 to 1, a slow start that is stirring concern among strategists who worry that a cash shortage could hinder the party's competitiveness in next year's midterm elections.

[...] Now, the latest financial numbers are prompting new doubts. From January through September, the Republican National Committee raised $81.5 million, with $34 million remaining in the bank. The Democratic National Committee, by contrast, showed $42 million raised and $6.8 million in the bank.


Waaay down in the article:

[...] In the previous election cycle, the DNC had raised $31 million, compared with the RNC's $80 million, at this point in 2003. But the cash-on-hand disparity -- the main concern of party strategists -- was less daunting then, with the RNC sitting on $27 million to nearly $10 million for the DNC.

Check the headline, the story placement—A1—and then delve in and run the numbers. this isn't the full year, just the first three quarters, but Dean is on his way to nearly doubling the money raised from 2003 and cutting the 3-1 margin down to 2-1. This isn't the piece Otto and I are thinking of either but it echoes the same bulllshit. This is all about slamming Dean. there's a prediliction for the media to do it, and there are still plenty of DNC and DC Dems willing to supply ammo.

As far as the money in the bank/cash on hand crap goes, I suspect that is indicative of Dean keeping more money at the local and state level and merely sour grapes from the DC mofos who want a fat fucking slush fund.

In addition, Dean is raising that money from more and more small donors, and I think that is important.

What is Dean supposed to do? He doubles the fundraising, and Republicans see that and tap a few more "pioneers" to maintain the gap. Take heart, Studiodave, he gap is actually the same, about $50 million, so if the trend continues towards the election we're talking $200 to $150 million. That doesn't sound so bad does it?

Plus, McAuliffe just looked slimy...

Otto Man said...

Of course. That's a given.

Mr Furious said...

Here is Kos' response in Nov to the WaPo hit piece:

--

So Dean has cut the RNC's traditional 3-1 advantage (or more) in fundraising to a 2-1 advantage and raised $11 million more than McAuliffe raised in 2003. Not to mention that Dean's numbers come the year after a presidential election -- the worst political fundraising time possible, while McAuliffe's came during the presidential cycle. Meanwhile, the RNC has remained static.

Dean has also been fundraising in the states, FOR the states. Past DNC chairmen would sweep into Lousiana or California, raise some money, and then ship the cash off the DC. Dean has garnered raves in the states for funneling that money to the local parties. Those are dollars not tallied in the RNC versus DNC comparisons. Mehlman isn't out tirelessly raising money for state parties.

[...] So what's the source of all the kvetching? The big donors are upset that Dean hasn't kissed enough ass.

[From WaPo} As some see it, Dean's larger problem is with the care and feeding of wealthy contributors, people capable of giving the maximum $26,700 allowed annually under federal law. Bob Farmer, a past DNC finance chairman, said that "where the chairman can make an impact is with the big donors and the big fundraisers."

Dean does not enjoy long relationships with these people and remains uncomfortable asking for a significant contribution after just meeting a donor, said party operatives familiar with his style. One high-dollar donor in the Washington area said the outreach by Dean has been woeful: "The only explanation I can fathom for the virtual total lack of quality communications is they are still in the process of figuring things out in terms of who their major donor list is."


What, did this high-dollar donor lose the address to the DNC? What a whiny sack of shit.

High dollar donors who care about the party and the nation should be able to give without getting wined and dined by Dean. Long term, that is where the Democratic Party needs to go -- funded by small dollar donors and supplemented by big donors who have their priorities in the right place.

Oh, and let's talk about this gem of a quote:

Several Washington Democrats not favorably inclined toward Dean said the party was willing to gamble on his "potential for hoof in mouth disease" -- in the words of one lobbyist -- because of the unexpected fundraising prowess he showed in the 2004 race.

The "party was willing to gamble"? What asshole Democrats made that asinine quote? "Washington Democrats" didn't have a choice. Dean was selected by outside-the-beltway Democrats, despite proclamation from establishment DC-based Dems that Dean would be the death of the party. If it was up to the DC crowd, Dean wouldn't have gotten within 500 miles of DC.

Again, Dean has already surpassed McAuliffe's vaunted presidenital-cycle numbers. Period. And they'll only get better. Dean has started rebuilding the state parties -- something DC Democrats could care less about (considering they never bothered trying to do it before).

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