Monday, April 02, 2007

The long analysis

Hillary Clinton raised 36 million for round one of the fundraising competition, blowing away any previous idea of what was possible this far out of a primary.

Keep in mind, however, that 10 million of that was already in the books from her 2006 senate run, and was not actually raised this quarter, bringing her actual amount down to 26 million. And according to this article around 21 million of that total can be used for the primary. The rest must be used for a general election.

Also according to the article, Barak Obama is expected to come in at around 21 million, drawing his accomplishment equal to Hilary's. (Obama hasn't officially reported yet.)

Now add in Mitt Romney's total of $23 million of which all can be used for the primary (2 million of which was a loan to himself).

This totally destroys the conventional wisdom of the Clinton Machine being able to amass money at such a clip as to make it impossible to compete with her. Relative neophytes such as Obama and Romney matched her right out of the gate, with Obama competing from the same pool of donors.

The biggest surprise for me was the fact that John Edwards raised 14 million. To be honest I had written him off in the wake of Obamamania, but this really makes a statement. He looks like the heir apparent when and if more media scrutiny begins to peel votes off from Obama, which is certain to happen (ask Howard Dean.)

Also of note on the Democratic side is Governor Richardson with 6 million, allowing him to stay in the conversation. I know that all the Republicans that I know would consider him the most dangerous of the Democratic Contenders in the general.

Dodd, Biden, and everyone else, thanks for playing, we have some nice parting gifts. It's not the money, it's you. If you could get to third or fourth place by default, we'd let you back in, but four candidates are not going to implode to open the door for you.

On the Republican side, let's be honest, Romney needed this. Had he not pulled this off in the monstrous fashion that he did, he was toast, especially considering he is getting little to no traction in the polls. It will be interesting to see what he has on hand, as building the infrastructure, from what I assume is scratch, to do this must have been quite possibly an expensive chore. He has believers and, from the totals, they ain't all Mormons.

Rudy did well, especially considering he was relatively late in building his network. I would expect him to challenge Romney for the fundraising lead next quarter unless he gets beset with scandal. This money definitely proves that he is not a placeholder candidate that Republicans are using until they find someone that they truly like as has been surmised by some.

Which brings us to McCain. He supposedly had Bush's network, and got Bush's numbers which would have been tremendous if this was 2000. McCain is going to have to innovate in a hurry in order to keep up. This does nothing to dismiss the perceived "blood in the water" that many have been trying to associate him with.

Here is a statement from the McCain Camp:

During the first quarter of 2007, John McCain 2008 campaign received nearly 60,000 contributions from all 50 states, averaging $200 per contribution. The McCain campaign will report over $12.5 million in contributions for the first quarter.

Campaign Manager Terry Nelson said, “Although we are pleased with the organization we’ve built and polls show us strongly positioned in key primary states, we had hoped to do better in first quarter fundraising. We are already in the process of taking the necessary steps to ensure fundraising success moving forward.” Nelson added, “Fundraising in the first quarter is no more important than fundraising throughout the entire primary election campaign.”

As I mentioned in a previous reply to my first fundraising post, part of this is ameliorated by McCain's high name recognition in comparison with Romney, which Romney will have to spend more money to overcome, but this advantage does not help him vs. Guiliani.

All in all, this is pretty sobering for team McCain. But I do have some good news for McCainiacs that I will cover later.


Kralmajales said...

Wow...if Obama has raised $21 million it would be a big big deal for Hillary...and it might be why she quickly released her very impressive and record setting bags of money.

Look for Obama to spin this nicely by arguing a few things:

1) Hillary is establishment and she has establishment money.

2) The fact that she has donors that have maxed out on both the primary and general donations means she needs to find new donors.

3) Obama will argue (and so will Edwards) that their money came from millions of small donors and probably more than Clinton.

4) Obama will make a "power of the people" argument that will be anti-establishment and that will be be used to garner more small donations from the same donors and new ones.

The underlying thought for Obama is this:

We had fewer connections, fewer big-time ties, we built this movement from scratch when she was running for years...and we still...STILL almost matched her.

Kralmajales said...

Oh...and I think the Romney folk and the Guiliani folk can make the same argument above against McCain. Outsider (especially Rudy) who has few of the big political connection advantages and who still out-raises a tired McCain who is well past his time.

sirocco said...

Some fast comments ...

I think your analysis jumps the gun on discounting the Clinton machine. First-quarter fundraising is the cliched "low-hanging fruit". For all of Obama's "outsider" image, he has a pretty-firm money base in Chicago, particularly among black businesses there.

So I don't really find his numbers surprising.

What will make-or-break is how well he is able to expand that base this quarter. Certainly, doing so well quarter one will help -- some potential doners who may have been on the fence will now feel more comfortable donating to him, so there may be a bit of a snowball effect.

Still, he doesn't (yet) have the national breadth of contacts Clinton does, so this quarter I think he really _will_ be relying on thousands of small donors.

Kralmajales said...

You may be right, but I wonder the same thing about Clinton. Yes, she clearly has a superior network and fundraising team. However, she has lukewarm support among Democrats as a whole and there are still many who believe she can't win. She has a charisma problem.

I frankly can't bet against her getting the nomination. I have seen too many rising stars who don't have established support go down in flames, but I tell you, she still comes off to many good people as another Kerry, Gore, etc. Boring, boring, boring, can't connect with people, and again they will lose Appalachia, the Midwest, and alienate more voters in the south.

That charisma and spirit behind Obama could very well continue and roll into more small donors...and he might very well be able to expand his support among the very wealthy donors with his close showing against the very well organized and established Clinton.

Framer said...

I don't think I am premature on caling Clinton out at all. She has spent the last few years setting her network up, Obama and Romney have spent pehaps the last year, and their effort was just as good, if not better.

For the front runner, it is extremely important that you establish inevitability. Clinton did not do that. There was no point in holding off donations for next quarter, she needed those now. Now Obama and Romney have put a massive chink in her inevitability.

As a prospective Obama donor, are you more or less likely to donate to Obama, or even Edwards for that matter now that you have seen that Clinton is not going to run away with the nomination?

As a prospective Clinton supporter, do you think it would now be advisable to wait to see what pans out next quarter before committing further? Enough potential doners do that, and a drop in Clinton's numbers become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

McCain is likely to see this type or wait-and-see to an even larger degree.

sirocco said...


I definitely agree prospective donors are more likely to donate to Obama based on the 1st quarter figures. That was the snowball effect I referred to.

However, it remains a trusim that 1st quarter fund-raising is _relatively_ easy. This is when you get money from friends, family, business contacts, long-term backers, etc., and Obama has more of a base in Chicago than many realize. The amount he got this quarter is a mild surprise for me, but not a big one.

If he continues to raise well in quarter two (and I think there _will_ be a snowball effect which will help in this regard), then I'll agree he's on (at least close to) even footing with Clinton in terms of garnering cash. Until then, I withhold judgement.

Remember, in the last election Edwards had a fine 1st-quarter figure, then nose-dived. I don't expect this to happen to Obama, but I think it's too early to say for sure.