Monday, February 1, 2010

Kagen's Fundraising Advantage May Not Matter

WTAQ reports:
Democratic incumbent Steve Kagen of Appleton has almost 5 times as much in his campaign account as his nearest challenger. Kagen had $550,000 in his war chest as of December 31st as he goes for his third term. And former roofing contractor Reid Ribble of Kaukauna had the most among Republicans with $115,000.
When Ribble addressed the Outagamie County Republican Women last August, a question about fundraising was among the first asked. Ribble's response was that in this race, Kagen would always be able to use his personal wealth to outspend just about anybody that the GOP put up against him. This is true even if the challenger is able to match Kagen's fundraising, which is probably not likely due to the advantage of incumbency.

Given this state of affairs, the "5 times greater" that WTAQ reported, and that I heard on Wisconsin Public Radio, doesn't seem like the critical number.

What is likely to matter for all of the GOP challengers in this race will be the absolute level of their own fundraising, not the level relative to Kagen. The question becomes will they have enough to finance a professionally run campaign? This includes reaching some minimum level that would allow for wide exposure in different types of media.

This level, of course, is going to be quite high, but the fact that Kagen will probably raise some multiple of the GOP candidate's funds shouldn't necessarily insure his victory.

1 comment:

Lane said...

I agree that the amount spent shouldn't determine victory. As you are aware, cash certainly helps pay for bumper stickers and air time. I think any challenger to Steve Kagen will have to raise money wherever they can. I feel it's unrealistic to expect an candidate to beat a millionaire if he limits himself to his own district.