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Friday, April 30, 2010

NC-11 Congressional Money Race Review

We are now in the final days of a hotly contested race, with six good men vying for an opportunity to take on Congressman Heath Shuler. Early voting has been taking place for the last few weeks and Judgement Day is May 4th, 2010. By sometime that evening, we'll find out if we have a clear winner, or if none get over 40%, if we will have a runoff election on June 22, 2010. 

In my personal opinion, none of them have shown an ability to raise money commensurate with taking on an entrenched Congress Critter. Here are the latest numbers that have been filed with FEC:

Total Raised

$691,209 Heath Shuler
$128,930 Jeff Miller
$123,694 Dan Eichenbaum
$37,045  Greg Newman

Total Raised from Individuals

$297,471 Heath Shuler
$116,930 Jeff Miller
$21,117  Dan Eichenbaum
$17,045  Greg Newman

Total Candidate Self-Financing

$102,577 Dan Eichenbaum
$20,000   Greg Newman
$12,000   Jeff Miller
$0             Heath Shuler

Also, Heath Shuler has raised $365,171 from PACs. His current cash on hand dwarfs all his Republican challengers put together.

A lot of attention has been paid to the money race on this blog as a kind of barometer of public support and the ability (desire?) of the candidates to go out and get the type of money that will get their message out to potential voters in the district. Several of the candidates (and campaign staff) have shown an unconscionable level of incompetence in this area.

Fundraising is just one of the tools we have available to us as a way of looking at the candidates and their staff as they audition for the job of taking on our resident Congress Critter.

Another way of looking at candidates that can tell us about their political journey is to look at what candidates and political causes they've given to in the past. It can provide us with another piece of the puzzle.

Here is what I've been able to find in the FEC data regarding the above candidates (in alphabetical order):

Dan Eichenbaum [Campaign Website]

Date of Donation Amount Donated Recepient of Donation
7-12-2000 $250 Libertarian National Committee
10-12-2002 $250 Libertarian National Committee
1-24-2008 $250 ORTHPAC 
2-12-2008 $125 ORTHPAC
8-26-2008 $250        Libertarian National Committee
10-20-2009 $2,000 Dr Dan 4 Congress
11-18-2009 $250 Republican National Committee
12-27-2009 $250 Dr Dan 4 Congress
1-12-2010 $10,000 Dr Dan 4 Congress
2-28-2010 $285 Buncombe County Republican Party
3-01-2010 $20,000 Dr Dan 4 Congress
3-31-2010 $70,000 Dr Dan 4 Congress

ORTHPAC is Political Action Committee,  namely promoting the interests of eyecare providers and ophthalmologists in the field of politics.

List of candidates ORTHPAC donated to in 2007-2008 Cycle
List of candidates ORTHPAC donated to in 2009-2010 Cycle, including:

Heath Shuler $2,500 [2007-2008]; Nancy Pelosi $5,000 [every cycle]; Harry Reid $10,000 [2009-2010] along with many other Democrats [45%] and Republicans [55%].

This is one reason, as a general rule, I do not donate to PACs, because you never know who they'll be giving money to, and I don't want some of my money going to politicians I disagree with on so many issues.

There also seems to be a national trend among Republican candidates who are challenging established incumbents to not accept donations from PACs.

Jeff Miller [Campaign Website]

Date of Donation Amount Donated Recipient of Donation
2-23-2005 $250 George W Bush
8-02-2005 $200 Charles Taylor
7-27-2006 $200 Charles Taylor
10-20-2006 $500 Charles Taylor
10-18-2007 $1,000                             Spence Campbell
3-27-2008 $500 Spence Campbell
10-30-2008 $500 Elizabeth Dole
9-30-2009 $1,000 Richard Burr  
2-03-2010 $12,000 Jeff Miller for Congress
2-28-2010 $375 Buncombe County Republican Party

Greg Newman [Campaign Website]

Date of Donation Amount Donated Recipient of Donation
7-21-2006 $200 Charles Taylor
4-19-2009 $2,000 11th Congressional District Republican Party
2-17-2010 $490 Buncombe County Republican Party
3-16-2010 $20,000 Greg Newman for Congress

Heath Shuler His Campaign Website is not up yet, but I expect it be shortly

If he has given to a political campaign, I've not been able to find it. Seems this guy never cared enough to give to a political cause or candidate.

The other candidates, save James Howard, in this race have virtually no record of donations that I can find outside of donating to the BCGOP in order to attend their Lincoln-Reagan Dinner this year.

Conclusions and Commentary

Data for this post came from a number of sources, including Open Secrets, Congress.Org, the Federal Elections Commission and News Meat. Any errors from the original sources are mine [I'm bad to transpose numbers], so if you see any glaring errors, please drop me a note in the comments, and I'll correct them.

What do these numbers tell us? I think that they tell us what a candidate has cared deeply about in the past, and from that, we can trace a history of donations and draw some generalized conclusions. 

Generally, about half the people eligible in this country vote. Less than a quarter of eligible voters (I'm being very generous here) tend to vote in primaries. Even fewer people give to political causes or campaigns. I've seen no hard numbers, but from what I've seen during my time of crawling the FEC database, I'd have to say that figure is around 1%. 

The people who give to campaigns are either the most ideologically driven, or wealthy enough to hope for gaining some influence in policy if their candidate, or roster of candidates, wins.


NC-11 Congressional Fundraising Race
April 21, 2010 Update

NC-11 Congressional Fundraising Race
April 20, 2010 Update