Cegelis and Fundraising
by MHS, Tue Jan 31, 2006 at 06:14:29 AM EST
While this topic has been done before on MyDD, I wanted to hit it again now that Christine Cegelis has released her Fourth Quarter fundraising numbers. I'm going to do three things in this entry: look at the numbers by themselves, compare those numbers to other Illinois candidates, and compare them to other candidates nation-wide.
1) In Q4 of 2005, Cegelis raised 68K, spent 77K, and finished with 39K cash on hand. In other words, she spent more money than she raised, and finished with 10K less COH: while her receipts increased by 15K from Q3, her spending increased by 30K. This doesn't strike me as a healthy trend. If you subtract the loans made to herself from her cash on hand as of New Year's Day, the net sum remaining is $184.54. Even if you don't count the loans as a liability (since the loan is to herself), that $184.54 doesn't speak well of her ability to raise money from other people. Note that Peter Roskam finished 2005 with 830K COH. Even if Cegelis has and will get more bang for her buck through greater voter contact, it seems to me that it's hard to win elections while being outspent 20-1.
2) In Illinois, there are 7 non-incumbent Democratic candidates who, as of 11 AM on 1/31/06, have filed FEC reports: Cegelis and Lindy Scott in 06, Dan Seals and Zane Smith in 10, John Pavich in 11, Jon Laesch in 14, and David Gill in 15. Cegelis in Q4 spent more money than any of the other 6 has spent over the cycle as a whole. Yet she has less COH than Scott, Seals, and Pavich, and has 2K more COH than Gill, despite outraising each of them over the cycle.
Compare Cegelis' fundraising in Q4 to Melissa Bean's numbers at this point last cycle. Bean raised 30K more, spent 45K less, and had 65K more COH. This might have something to do with Cegelis in 2005 spending 135K more than Bean did in 2003.
If the goal is to build up a warchest with which to win the primary while having enough cash to fight the general, this isn't how to do it.
3) For the national comparison, I've looked at candidates in competitive races, using Charlie Cook's 1/13/06 race charts. In open-seat races, I compared her to 17 other candidates in the 12 open-seat races (10 seats held by Republicans, two by Democrats). Where Q4 numbers were available, I used them; where they weren't, I used Q3.
Cegelis was 12th for quarterly fundraising out of the 18 total candidates; three of the six below her (Bill Mitchell and Greg Rublee of FL-9, and Jan Schneider of FL-13) are underdog or longshot candidates, and one was Lindy Scott, discussed above. Yet of those 18, Cegelis had the most spending of any candidate, including Francine Busby, who has an election in April.
Overall, I compared Cegelis with 43 other candidates in the 35 listed competitive races where a Dem candidate had an FEC filing. Of the 44 candidates, Cegelis was 31st for quarterly fundraising. Of the thirteen candidates below her, six were underdog or longshot candidates (Mitchell, Rublee, Schneider, Andy Warren of PA-08, Jerrry McNerney of CA-11, Bret Clemons, NH-02) and three others (Jamie Wall, WI-08; El Tinklenberg, MN-06; Patrick Murphy, PA-08) only had Q3 numbers available; each of those three outraised Cegelis in that quarter.
At the same time, Cegelis was 5th for spending out of the 44. Each of the four candidates who spent more in Q4 (Lois Murphy, Nick Lampson, Nancy Farrell, and Ron Klein) raised more than 250K in Q4; Murphy, Lampson, and Klein raised over 300K for the quarter.
The point here is not that money is everything or that Cegelis' grassroots contact can't eventually pay off. The point is that Cegelis, to beat Roskam, needs to be running a tight, efficient campaign that gets a lot of bang for the buck, and it doesn't seem like she's doing that now.