VA-10, VA-11 updates: The money race
The new FEC filings are up, and the website is reporting the 2007 year totals for some of our local House candidates. Let’s see how they did:
Frank Wolf: Raised $740K ($480K from individuals); Cash on hand as of 12/31/07: $555K
Judy Feder: Raised $589K ($495K from individuals); Cash on hand as of 12/31/07: $483K
Vern McKinley (R) has $12K CoH; Michael Turner (D) has $37K CoH.
Keith Fimian: Raised $700K ($370K from individuals); Cash on hand as of 12/31/07: $656K
Leslie Byrne: Raised $115k ($82K from individuals); Cash on hand as of 12/31/07: $104K
Doug Denneny (D)Â has $13K CoH; Lori Alexander (D) and Steve Hunt (R) filed their statement of candidacy forms after the reporting period for this quarter ended. Gerry Connolly has yet to file a statement of candidacy form, but reports around $160K since he formed his exploratory committee.
More thoughts after the break
Starting with VA-10, after initially getting outraised earlier in 2007, Wolf stepped up a bit and managed to raise more overall and end with a higher cash on hand than Feder, though his contributions from individuals is lower by a nearly insignificant amount. Frank Wolf hates fundraising, so hauling in a quarter of a million dollars in an off-year is a good showing for him.
However, the most important numbers in VA-10 are 220 and 16. In 2006, Wolf only outspent Feder by about $220K, $1.79m for Wolf and $1.57m for Feder. Wolf trounced Feder by a 16 point margin. Its very important to note as well that 2006 was a banner year nationwide for Democrats, while 2008 will have increased turnout for the Presidential race. While Northern Virginia, particularly Loudoun County, has grown significantly for the past decade, President Bush won with 56% of the vote in 2000, and 55% in 2004; not a huge shift. If the nominees are John McCain and Hillary Clinton, the Republicans will once again carry the top of the ticket. So while Frank Wolf and Judy Feder are about even in terms of fundraising (Wolf has a slight advantage in cash-on-hand), Judy Feder needs to do a lot better if she has any hope of improving upon her 2006 performance, let alone actually defeat Wolf. The Turner and McKinley candidacies have enough money to warrant attention in the primaries, but not enough to become actual threats.
VA-11 is a different story. Its interesting in that the district where Democrats don’t have good prospects, with an entrenched incumbent against a far-left candidate who can’t get traction, their fundraising is stellar. But in an extremely competitive district, with an open seat no less, they’re lagging far behind.
First, let’s start with Fimian. Fimian, a political neophyte and by all accounts largely unknown in the district (apparently not to the business community, though), managed to raise a whopping $700K, all in an off-year when the incumbent of his own party still hadn’t announced his retirement. That is simply an incredible sum for a political new-comer. Granted, Fimian self-loaned his candidacy about $325K, but look at the numbers: $370K from individual contributors. The promise of a candidate who is a great fundraiser that can also self-fund if necessary is amazing. Even better for Fimian: he stands to have a nominally competitive primary, which can increase his name ID in the district, but none of his potential opponents (Hunt has filed, we’re waiting on Mike May to make a decision) will have enough money to cause Fimian to dip too heavily into his funds.
(A quick note: Tim Hugo is rumored to be re-considering a Congressional bid. While I wrote earlier about why Hugo would make a great candidate, I believe that he will ultimately pass on the race, especially with Davis’s tacit endorsement of Fimian. If Hugo does get into the race, the primary calculations will change significantly.)
On the Democratic side, for all of the union endorsements and positive attention from far-left bloggers that Leslie Byrne has received, she managed only to raise $82K from individuals. That is quite an enthusiasm gap between rhetoric and results. Where is the support for her candidacy? Are business donors waiting to see what Connolly does? Did activists not want to donate until after Tom Davis retired? Byrne isn’t a long-shot candidate like Judy Feder, but Feder managed to raise six times the amount of money from individuals. Now, granted, Byrne didn’t set up her candidacy until late in the year, but everyone knew she was running for a while.
But in a district that will supposedly be the most competitive in the nation, an open seat in a city suburb trending Democratic, the three Democrats that have been raising money raised only a total of $305K. Keith Fimian raised more money than all three Democrats combined just in individual contributions! Now, the DCCC will likely heavily invest in the race, while the cash-strapped NRCC won’t be able to as much, but having a stellar fundraiser like Keith Fimian as the nominee goes a long way towards keeping this seat in Republican hands.
The first quarter reports (January 1 through March 31) will be very telling, now that Connolly will likely enter the race and Byrne will have a full quarter to fundraise, and now that Tom Davis is officially out and more Republicans will enter the race. While we’re going to have to wait at least two months to get the new numbers, here are some questions for the 1st quarter that the answers to will be very interesting:
—Do Wolf and Feder continue to keep par with one another (advantage: Wolf) or does Feder manage to hit a spurt in fundraising to outdistance the incumbent, something she’ll need to do in order to make the race competitive?
—Who raises more between Connolly and Byrne? Byrne will have the support of the activists; Connolly, the businesses. How many small-dollar donations will Byrne receive, the best monetary indication of enthusiasm?
—Turner and McKinley have raised enough money to get noticed by the heavyweights, as has Denneny. Will Alexander and Hunt, and whoever else gets in?
—How many Tom Davis donors will make the shift to Fimian, and how many will hold out to consider their options, or wait until after the primary in June?
—Now that Davis is officially out, non-inside baseball activists will donate to new Republican candidates instead of the incumbent. How many new donors does Fimian, et al. pick up?
—Will Democratic fundraising in the 11th increase, or are the candidates simply hoping that the national party will bail them out? It’s much easier—just a 30-minute Metro ride—for them to make personal appeals to the power players in D.C. than in other districts.
The answers to those questions will help give us a preview to how each race will shake out. In the meantime, Republicans definitely hold the better hand in fundraising in each district, and for all the doom and gloom about Republican chances in November, there’s plenty of reasons to remain positive.