Monday, July 17, 2006

2Q Candidate Finance Reports Trickle In--Updated

[updated below with reports for DeFazio, Erickson and Voisin...]

In one of the ritual dances that passes for campaign finance disclosure in this country, all candidates and parties for office were required to submit reports by today detailing their contributions and expenditures for the 2nd quarter of the year. In Oregon, this period features the latter part of primary season and then post-primary through June. There will be one more release pre-election, October 15.

It's unclear whether the lack of a record for some candidates and parties is due to FEC lag in uploading them, or they haven't been turned in yet (technically a fineable violation, I believe). But there are some missing folks, like Peter DeFazio in District 4 and Carol Voisin in District 2. (Speaking of Voisin, it is with regret that we note our dominant emotion right now regarding her campaign: frustration. It's been "just getting off the ground" for a couple of months now, and even accounting for poor funding, not even the things that don't cost money--like press releases--are gettng done. But that's fodder for another post.)

In no particular order, here's what's out there so far:

Earl Blumenauer, (D-OR3), who is engaged in a cakewalk re-election campaign without meaningful opposition, nonetheless bagged $54,000 for the quarter and is sitting on $280,000 in reserve (known as cash on hand, or CoH.) Unclear whether he'll keep it for next time or give some away.

David Wu (D-OR1) needs to remind his staff to stay off the defensive. They adamantly refused to even hint or estimate what they would report to the FEC, which I suppose is their right. But they were awfully touchy about it, and seemed clearly displeased that we would even ask, given Carla's critical reporting. They turned sweet as marionberry pie when Carla reminded them she'd once voted and canvassed for Wu--and was still a constituent. But we had to wait like the rest of the world to learn that he'd earned just south of $150,000 with $595,000 CoH. Wu's path is materially harder than Blumie's, but I really don't think he's seriously challenged this time. Nonetheless, he's spent just short of $100,000 the last three months. Happily, $15K of that went to DCCC dues (I presume), plus $3K to netroots candidate Tammy Duckworth, and $2K more to Sherrod Brown in Ohio for his Senate race against Mike DeWine.

Wu's opponent, the somewhat sketchy Derrick Kitts, is not exactly mounting a reargaurd attack--he raised a little less than $35,000 (about half of that from the Associated Builders PAC), and spent $40,000 at the same time, reducing his CoH to $52,000. One of his bigger expenses was for "office supplies" from Fry's Electronics, to the tune of $2,000. Office supplies from Fry's?

[paragraph about Democratic Party C&E's deleted, based on erroneous reading of the, I mistakenly read the 2Q report for July 2003. There is none for 2006.]

Darlene Hooley (D, OR5) is not among the top tier challenges for the Republicans this time, but is ready anyway. As she has displayed in the past, Hooley spokesperson Joan Evans was highly responsive to our requests before the deadline, and her estimates are borne out in the official version: $184,000 in receipts, a parsimonious $39,000 in expenditures, and a sassy $855,000 on hand.

DeFazio's opponent in OR-4, Jim Feldkamp, is putting together a nicely funded challenge. He raised $84,000 in the 2nd quarter, which is reasonably good for a challenger. He also sits on $240,000 CoH, which will at least allow him to compete if not win.

Finally, big Daddy this time around is Greg Walden, who other than Bluemenauer probably faces the lightest challenge in Congress. Walden's office was also forthcoming with their numbers, mostly because they'd already filed ahead of time (they're efficient, anyway). I identified myself and she asked me to repeat my representation. I did, and she snorted, "Whatever that is," but did cough up the numbers in a haughty way indicating to me they damn well expect to crush Voisin like a Hood River Valley pinot grape. Remember now, he is facing an unfunded neophyte challenger in hands down the most Republican district in Oregon. Walden picked up $138,00 in new contributions and added it to his stack that now reaches 983,068 dollars high. Popular givers? The AMA ($7,000), the beer distributors ($5,000), Sprint ($3,000), BuildPAC ($15,000), Intel ($3,000), Bechtel ($4,000), Alaska Air ($2,000), Verizon ($4,000) and Wal-Mart ($2,000).

More in this space if we can get our hands on them soon...

Update, 1145pm--
I should mention that the "incoming" money figures represent contributions only, and not the inimitable "transfers from other authorized committees." As far as I could tell, only Blumenauer had any of the ones I highlighted (he received an additional $125 that way). Money is money, and I suppose I should have included all receipts to give a sense of the candidates' real spending power, but to me at this stage I'm interested in actual contributions from people and businesses.

Update, 1pm 7/17--
As Patton Price noted in the comments, I neglected to print Mike Erickson's figures as a challenger to Hooley. It was filed at the time; I simply overlooked it--which tells you how well Erickson's doing establishing name recognition in the 5th, where I live. Here it is, and it's an interesting one. On the surface, Hooley hammered him; his 2Q contributions total is just $50,000. However, as we discussed above, while other types of receipts don't necessarily reflect voter interest, the money spends just the same--and in that vein, it should be noted that Erickson lent himself $165,000, meaning that technically speaking he "outraised" Hooley, one of only six Democratic incumbents nationwide to be outraised this quarter. (There are 28 GOP incumbents in that position...!)

For Erickson, however, it's easy come/easy go: during the same period that $215K came in, $196K went out, adding just $20,000 to the bottom line and leaving $32,000 CoH. Gotta be tough to fork over 165 large to yourself, just to pay the bills. Where did it all go? Almost $35,000 of it went to staff payroll--which is a pretty large apparatus for a small-time House challenger. Another $28,000 or so went to consulting and research, again a seemingly outsized allottment for the race he's running. There's $16,000 for internal polling, which presumably told him he's running uphill with an anchor.

But the vast bulk of Erickson's spending was about $97,000 for designing, printing and mailing campaign literature. About a third of that is for postage (sometimes the line items are combined so it's hard to get an exact figure), but they must be doing some kind of magic at Jamestown Associates in Princeton, NJ--Erickson paid a whopping $52,000 for them to "design, print and distribute" mailers. And you know what the bitch of it is? I live in his district, I'm an independent registrant (so I should be a target for Erickson's campaign)...and I haven't seen anything in my mail or on my door from him. As I said, I didn't even remember he was running. Now that's effective voter outreach!

DeFazio's material was filed on time, but didn't appear in the database the first time I looked. It's there now, and it's pretty boring: $45,000 of contributions in, $29,000 outgoing, and a somewhat smallish war chest of $368,000--which as we said, is allowing Feldkamp to compete on money terms at the moment, given that Feldkamp is only about $100,000 off the CoH pace.

Finally, there is poor Carol Voisin. She is stuck in a race which no one believes she can win, despite a favorable national climate, a reliable-like-ExLax Bush rubberstamper in Greg Walden, and energized Eastern Democrats for the first time in a long time, aided by paid DNC staffers to help them organize. Voisin appears to have filed by hand rather than electronically with the FEC; her data appears only in the main summary search. If a candidate doesn't e-file it's a bit of a bummer, because then you have to go look at the actual form images to see a specific quarter of activity. Otherwise you get the full-cycle report I linked to. If there was a candidate for whom it didn't matter, however, that'd be Voisin. For the full 2005-2006 cycle, Voisin has raised less than $9,000, $3,500 of it her own money. Add in the roughly $1,500 donated via ActBlue, and her campaign's grand total of solicitation success is four thousand dollars. Dan Davis was a fairly savvy primary candidate with political experience. It hurts to say it, but did Democrats make a mistake here? At the very least, we had hoped/expected to force the GOP to spend a little extra coin to keep its Oregon presence. At this point if I were the Republican Congressional fundraising arm, I'd be asking WALDEN for money. Sad.