On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Monday, October 15, 2007

WA-08 FEC Numbers Show Burner Actually Beat Reichert In Q3

Regular readers of this blog may have been curious as to why I had not yet commented on the recently announced WA-08 fundraising numbers, while just about everybody else tracking this race has. Well the reason is quite simple: I've been waiting for the official FEC numbers to be posted, which they were today:

WA-08 October Quarterly Fundraising. Source: Federal Election Commission

As others have already pointed out Burner's numbers are very strong. Her total receipts trailed Reichert for the quarter by only $36,000, despite the President's fundraising efforts on Reichert's behalf at the end of August.

More impressively, 89% of Burner's contributions this election cycle came from individuals, while Reichert's contributions from individuals made up only 57% of his totals, the rest, over $340,000, coming from PACs and campaign committees. Just about half of Burner's contributions are unitemized, i.e. less than $200 a donation. Only 7% of Reichert's contributions from individuals are categorized as unitemized. As much as anything that tells so much of the story regarding the breadth of Burner's support and how much Reichert is having to rely on wealthier donors.

Of course we also know that the netroots helped raise $123,000 for Burner running up to Bush's visit for Reichert fundraiser, from over 3200 donors, and it appears that considerably helped negate all the positives the Republican hoped to gain from the public support of such an unpopular president.

But what has really struck so many observers in the blogosphere regarding Reichert's results is just how much it appeared he was spending as his cash on hand numbers, the number that ultimately will make the difference as the election nears, were continuing to lag Burner's. Going into the quarter he had $23,000 less cash on hand, but after Bush's visit and the end of the 3rd quarter, he had $41,000 less cash on hand.

Well it turns out that the main reason for that is the fact he recorded a huge $47,100 worth in refunds of contributions from individuals, and for the election cycle he has now refunded over $52,000 in contributions. For the entire previous election cycle Reichert only recorded $16,000 in refunds of contributions. My assumption is that these refunds are due to improper, or tainted contributions of some sort. I'll be interested if anyone can shed some light on them. Regardless, it is hard to accumulate funds when you're having to return so much of it.

We have a year to go, but unlike in 2005, when Reichert held a 10 to 1 money advantage at this point, this time both candidates are heading into the next 12 months essentially neck and neck in the fundraising race, with an edge to Burner due to her having more cash on hand, far less disbursements by not having any left over debt from the last election cycle to retire, and a greater upside in small donors that can be tapped further over the coming months. Reichert has 25% less cash on hand as he did at this point in 2005 despite Bush's help, while Darcy Burner has 842% more than she did at the same point in the last race.

Reporters have been talking about Darcy Burner's candidacy as never having stopped, and certainly there is no denying that despite a few months break following the 2006 elections she has barely taken her foot off the pedal in the race. I'll admit that I was skeptical that she could raise as much money as she did last election cycle this time around, knowing full well she'll probably need to raise closer to $4 milling than her $3 million total of last year to compete. Yet Burner has shown herself to be a resilient campaigner and fundraiser, moving this race into the national spotlight and emphasizing her grassroots and netroots support, while highlighting the most obvious difference between her and Reichert: that Reichert supports Bush's misguided Iraq occupation and ongoing troop escalation, with no end in sight, while Burner is calling for the creation of a real plan for America's withdrawal, and working with leading figures like General Eaton to define and drive the emergence of such a plan.

Over the coming months this one issue is likely to decide this and many other elections around the nation, despite the many other important issues that facing us that are of major concern. While the battle lines are being fought by our brave soldiers overseas, another battle will be waging in the 8th for the direction we want to take this country going forward. Those that represent continuing along the path Bush has taken us down need to be swept aside and replaced by new representatives such as Burner that will steer us, and party leadership in a new direction.

Update: It turns out, on closer inspection, that Reichert only raised $295,538 all told, not the $342,638 in total receipts. The difference is the $47,100 in refunds. If you look at the refunds and compare them to the itemized contributions, it is clear that the refunds simply amount to excess contributions beyond contribution limits. Reichert never really took in the money in the first place, and his Q3 total therefore actually lags Burner's total of $306,883, despite the fact Bush came to raise money for him. That netroots fundraiser didn't just close the gap for Burner, it put her ahead of Reichert. Amazing.

2 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous stilwell

Great work Daniel. I'm kind of surprised there are no comments congratulating you, seeing as this information is even being featured on Daily Kos. You deserve big props!

10/16/2007 10:51 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

Thanks. Goldy has a bigger audience. I typically get a few troll commenters on something like this, but I think they're all a little dumb struck by these figures.

I plan to point out some more curious info soon, but the main thing is that people are looking at this, regardless of who may have posted about it first. The AP guys may have written about it earlier but they've taken the Reichert campaign on their word as to the explanation. I think if they look more closely they'll discover another truth to the numbers.

10/16/2007 11:11 PM PT  

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