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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

All Eyes on Giuliani and Huckabee’s Third Quarter Fundraising (UPDATED With Huck’s Bucks)



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Here’s what we know about Republican presidential candidates’ fund-raising the third quarter, so far:

Giuliani: Unstated, campaign is claiming “on par” with rivals

Romney: Expected to report $10 million coming in plus a personal donation of $6 million to $7 million, about $60 million for year

Thompson: $8 million for the quarter, with $11.5 million for the year

McCain: “more than $5 million for the quarter”

Huckabee: No release yet; raised $766,000 last quarter (UPDATE: “Around $1 million.”)

Ron Paul: $3 million for the quarter, around $6 million for the year

Among the Democrats, a less interesting story with the top two way ahead:

Hillary: $27 million, $22 for the primary, total for year was $62 million, with an additional $10 million transferred from Senate campaign

Obama: $20 million in the third quarter, $19 million for the primary, close to $80 million for the year

Edwards: $7 million in the third quarter

Richardson: $5.2 million in the third quarter

Biden: Just under $2 million in the third quarter

Dodd: $1.5 million in the third quarter

I can’t help but suspect that if either Giuliani or Huckabee had jaw-dropping numbers, we would have heard them by now…

UPDATE: Huck’s bucks: “Around $1 million.” That’s pretty disappointing, considering how he was supposed to catch fire after the second place finish at the Iowa straw poll. 

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Loose Change Fans For Barack Obama



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When Barack Obama said in 2002, “What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne,” little did he know that five years later, it would spur the creation of admiring YouTube videos from Loose Change fans who contend, “a conspiracy is going on and Obama knows it too.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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Talkin’ The Race on XM



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If This Is True, It Means There’s Been a Lot of Hyping Going On



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This should start a huge, perhaps furiously angry discussion: Patrick Ruffini argues that Daily Kos’ traffic numbers are inflated 60 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Rudy Contends Fred Entered With Little Bounce



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From a Giuliani strategy memo distributed to the press:

Voters responded to Fred Thompson’s September entry into the GOP Primary race with a smaller-than-expected announcement bounce. Typically an announcement will generate about a 10 point bounce. Senator Thompson’s bounce ranged from zero points to 8 points, but averaged less than 4 points — certainly not what was expected for a campaign that spent so much time preparing to get in the race.

Yes, but Thompson’s still ranging between 19 and 27 points in a four, perhaps five way field. That’s not exactly something to sneeze at, and I notice they didn’t include the Rasmussen daily tracking poll (with its automated questions) which Thompson has led every day since September 8. The lead has ranged from 2 to 10 points.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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Would Some Other Republican Keep the Southwest and Upper Midwest Red?



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Heed Green Mountain’s skepticism (hat tip, Ramesh) about Giuliani’s capacity to put almost every blue state in play. But beyond that, is the real news in the Giuliani campaign red-blue-and-purple state map that they think Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Louisiana would be “purple” and thus competitive in a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton?

That’s 56 of Bush’s 286 electoral votes that Team Rudy admits Hillary would have a shot at.

One other thought – all of the states above are purple, but Arkansas stays red? 

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

About as Close to an Olive Branch as I’ll Offer to the RonPaulBearers



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A short-lived barrage of e-mail from Ron Paul fans arrived this morning, all hitting me for daring to wonder whether they’re regular, tried-and-true Republicans. I hadn’t written about the Ian McKellen lookalike in a while, so I wondered what was up.

LewRockwell.com responded to something I had written in May, noting that most Ron Paul supporters have no second choice, while most supporters of other GOP candidates can fairly easily find a second choice. I suspected, and still suspect, that most folks flocking to Ron Paul are hard-core libertarians, traditional third-party voters, and not the folks who show up in Republican presidential primaries cycle after cycle. Finally, if you’re the “REAL Republicans,” then what are the ninetysome percent preferring some other guy in the primary? Is ninety percent or so of the GOP those dreaded “neocons”?

But since one or two of the PaulBearers were nicer than usual, I’ll throw them a bone or two. During my short trip to New Hampshire this week, I saw lawn signs for only one candidate: You Know Who. If lawn signs in the Manchester-Portsmouth-Durham area accurately predict primary results, then we can expect Ron Paul to win the Granite State with 100 percent of the vote.

The second thing is, it’s hard for us outside the bandwagon to separate the candidate from his nuttier supporters, like the ones who accused Giuliani of being in on 9/11 on the ferry, or other supporters’  chants that “9/11 was an inside job.” That kind of talk makes blood boil, and yet somehow it keeps coming from Ron Paul supporters. I know the candidate has rejected those allegations, but it raises the question of why the conspiracy nuts keep congregating around one candidate.

Once the nuts have been trimmed from his operation, there might be some parts of Paul’s campaign to admire and emulate: Every time he mentions going back to the Constitution for first principles, or quotes the Declaration of Independence, he gets a cheer, even at last week’s Morgan State University forum. His die-hard budget cutting stands might be seen as the GOP’s natural allergic reaction to seven years of big-spending compassionate conservatism. (And Bush’s signing of campaign finance reform, and his awful positions on illegal immigration and border control, and his creation of a massive bureaucracy that frisks grandma at the airport and makes me disrobe to get on an airplane and …  er, where was I going with this?) He clearly has figured out how to get young people energized like few other Republican candidates.

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, the right is going to need to appeal to every voter skeptical of big government. Ron Paul’s folks insist they’ll never settle for the lesser evil. Whoever the Republican nominee is, it might be nice if he could get some of these folks to reconsider whether they really want to live under President Greater Evil.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

No, Really, This Result Should Be Sobering for Romney’s Rivals



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I see the argument that the ARG poll showing Mitt Romney ahead in South Carolina is unusual. I don’t know if it warrants speculation about alcohol abuse at the ARG firm, though.

ARG’s Dick Bennett says the jump in numbers is “tied almost exclusively to recall of Romney’s TV advertising.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Only 24 Percent of Gore Donors Gave to a Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2004?



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I spoke to Michael J. Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, about the latest fundraising numbers – and I was particularly intrigued by his recent comment that “more than 8 out of 10 donors who gave in the last presidential election have not weighed in yet… There’s a lot of untapped capacity out there.”

A study of donations made during the first six months of 2007 found that more than 80 percent of people who donated to candidates in the 2008 race did not give money in 2004.

Some of Malbin’s data stunned me. For example, what percentage of Bush’s donors who gave more than $1,000 in 2000 do you think gave to the President again in 2004? I would have guessed in the neighborhood of eighty percent, but the CFI study found that only 31 percent gave again in 2004. For donors of $200 or more, it dropped to 30 percent. What’s more, only 24 percent of Gore donors from 2000 and 21 percent of Bradley donors in 2000 gave to any Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.

“It turns out there’s a lot more churning in the system than the political professionals normally expect,” Malbin said. “We picture a candidate going back to the old list, going to the same old, same old again and again, but not that’s really the way it works. People are constantly coming in and then leaving the pool of donors. Today, there are a lot of old donors who haven’t given yet – and who may not give at all.”

He noted that 2004 was a perfect storm for attracting donors: a polarized electorate; big, important issues that riveted voters; differing candidates with starkly different approaches; and new innovations in technology. But he noted that most donations actually came in after Super Tuesday. “Most of the donors came in at that point after the choice was simplified and sharper. By then it was a choice between the presumptive nominees. Sooner or later, this race is going to be one Republican vs. one Democrat, the choice is going to look more stark, and some donors will be more motivated.”

I would have figured that a Gore or Bradley donor would be almost certain to pick a favorite of the 2004 crop, and do the same again with this year’s selection. But a significant number of donors may be extremely candidate-centered, and not inclined to support a successor even if he or she has similar stands.

“I think in primaries, the decision to donate is very personality-based,” Malbin said. “Especially for the small donor, they get personally invested in the candidate, it’s a statement, ‘this guy is the right guy to be the next president.’”

There are two early indicators in this cycle that Malbin finds interesting. The first is the continued grown Obama’s small donor numbers (even accounting for the cap-purchase theory). Since even a well-financed campaign may have trouble running television ads in 23 states in “Super Duper Tuesday”, a huge database of supporters and volunteers that can be mobilized – and who have provided their contact information to the campaign – may be vital for competing.

Malbin said he is also curious to see what John McCain’s spending rate is, since that was what bedeviled the Arizona senator’s efforts earlier this year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

52 Percent of Americans Say Remove Troops From Iraq at Current Pace or Slower



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So why did all three leading Democratic candidates say they couldn’t guarantee that all U.S. combat troops would be out of Iraq by January 2013?

Might have something to do with this Washington Post poll result, that surprised me:

13. There’s been a proposal to remove these additional U.S. forces from Iraq by next summer, returning to the earlier level of about 130-thousand U.S. troops. Do you think the number of U.S. forces in Iraq should be reduced more (quickly) than this, more (slowly), or is this about the right pace of troop reductions?

More Quickly: 43 percent

More Slowly: 12 percent

Right Pace: 38 percent

Should Not Be Reduced (volunteered answer): 2 percent

No Opinion: 5 percent

You add them up, it’s 52 percent for the current pace or slower.

Remember this the next time one of our friends in the anti-war movement insists that the vast majority of Americans agree with their desire for an immediate withdrawal.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Obama’s Got Lots of New Donors. Am I a Cynic For Thinking ‘Sex Sells’?



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Obama campaign manager David Plouffe:

“Many in Washington have spent the last weeks declaring the outcome of this race to be preordained, and the primary process a mere formality,” Mr. Plouffe said in a statement. “Yet, in this quarter alone, 93,000 more Americans joined our campaign, because they desire real change and believe Barack Obama is the one candidate who can deliver it.”

Or, you know, they’ve sold a lot of caps in the last quarter. I hate to be a broken record on this point, but you would think the New York Times would remember that Obama’s new small donor numbers are goosed because they’re counting sales of campaign paraphernalia while the other campaigns aren’t, seeing as Times reporters are the ones who broke that story.

Also, keep in mind that “Obama 08″ paraphernalia sales are probably boosted by the perception that he’s the “cool” candidate. He’s young, Oprah loves him, his supporters are easy (allegedly). How many guys wanted to wear something with “Obama 08″ on it after watching ObamaGirl writhe and moan his name?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Reading Between the Lines of an NRA Official’s Column



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I’m not saying that the NRA is okay with Rudy Giuliani. I’m just noticing two things about this TownHall column from Sandy Froman, immediate past president of the National Rifle Association, about the candidate forum they held a little while back.

1) If Froman had wanted to write something like, “gun owners are looking for a candidate with a longtime and unwavering commitment to Second Amendment rights throughout that candidate’s career,” phrasing that would have implicitly excluded Giuliani, she could have written that. Instead, she writes:

Gun owners must elect a president in 2008 who will support and defend the Second Amendment together with the rest of the Constitution. In fact, we can’t claim victory for the Second Amendment until all the candidates of both major parties—Democrats and Republicans alike—are eager to appear before the NRA and its supporters.

This election also will shape the federal courts. The 30-year old DC gun ban was struck down six months ago by a federal appeals court as violating the Second Amendment. DC is asking the Supreme Court to uphold the ban. NRA’s lawsuit over the New Orleans gun confiscation during Hurricane Katrina is set for trial in federal court in a few months. Gun rights are at stake.

If Hillary Clinton is going to be denied the presidency, it will be because American gun owners refuse to let her launch a hostile agenda against the Second Amendment and pack the Supreme Court with anti-gun judges.

Which is more or less all the notes Giuliani hit in his speech — the Parker decision on the DC gun ban clarified my thinking, I’m appointing strict constructionists to the bench, I can beat Hillary, etc.

2) The photo that goes with the story is of Giuliani. Yes, it is of him on the cellular phone, and yes, that’s probably the best or most interesting photo to use, and I’d bet a doughnut that it was picked by some TownHall editor and not Froman.

Still, it can’t hurt Giuliani that a column by a leading figure in the NRA entitled, “Getting the Gun Vote” features a picture of his smiling mug.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Just As In The South, Hillary’s a Drag in the Mountain West



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A couple more items to add to our discussion of the “Hillary drag” on Democrats in the South and West (key arguments found here and here), courtesy the Influence Peddler. First, an article in the Los Angeles Times looking at Hillary’s effect on Mountain state Democrats:

The New York senator and Democratic front-runner was by a wide margin the most unpopular of 13 potential presidential candidates in Montana, according to a June survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Billings Gazette; 61% said they would not consider voting for her, compared with 49% who would not vote for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and 45% who would not vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The most unpopular Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was rejected by 51%.

Recent polls in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona have found similar distaste for Clinton.

“She’s carrying huge negatives out here,” said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Colorado pollster who said Democratic congressional candidates would have to highlight their differences with the national party to be successful next year. “It’s that liberal East Coast image that is so hard to sell in the West.”

One key advisor to a prominent Democratic congressional candidate tells the Times, “It’s a disaster for Western Democrats… It keeps me up at night.”

The article notes that a third of independents in Arizona said they could never vote for Hillary Clinton.

Finally, CQ did a seat-by-seat rundown of House races in the South and concluded:

…any Democratic ambitions for bigger Southern gains are tempered by the fact that they will have to play serious defense in a few of their own districts. These include at least three held by Democratic incumbents who took over Republican-held seats under highly unusual circumstances in 2006: Tim Mahoney, who captured Florida’s 16th District seat after long-entrenched Republican Rep. Mark Foley’s career collapsed in scandal; Nick Lampson, who won the strongly Republican-leaning 22nd District of Texas after its once-powerful Republican representative, Tom DeLay, resigned under an ethics cloud; and Ciro D. Rodriguez, who narrowly ousted Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla in Texas’ 23rd District after a court-ordered redistricting made it more favorable to the Democrats.

Democrats also will again have to go all out to protect two of their incumbents from neighboring districts in Georgia, Jim Marshall of the 8th District and John Barrow of the 12th, who won by the smallest margins among all Democratic House incumbents seeking re-election across the nation in 2006.

With Hillary steamrolling her way to the nomination, Republicans may be thankful that Democratic primary voters are hell-bent on nominating the one leading candidate who couldn’t put much of this territory in play.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Hillary Wins Endorsement of ‘Widely Admired’ Mayor That 45 Percent Would Reelect



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Some days, the left hand of the press doesn’t quite keep track of what the other left hand is saying:

The AP, 13 hours ago:

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the endorsement Monday of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, a widely admired black leader who had anguished over whether to back Sen. Barack Obama, her leading Democratic presidential rival.

The San Francisco Chronicle, yesterday morning:

After less than a year in office, the bloom appears to be fading fast on Mayor Ron Dellums’ rose – with a new survey finding Oaklanders deeply divided over his leadership and only modestly confident in his ability to stem the city’s crime problem.

When 500 likely Oakland voters were asked by pollster David Binder to rate the mayor’s performance on key issues on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 10 scoring high – Dellums scored a 3.8 on crime, 3.7 on improving education, 4.2 on providing housing and 4.3 on economic development…

… A troublingly high 42 percent believe the new mayor is all talk and no action.

And while 58 percent still have a generally favorable view of Dellums, just 45 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for him today.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Intriguing Results in Minnesota, As Long As You Don’t Mind Giant Margins of Error



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I was going to be intrigued by these poll results of Republicans in Minnesota – showing Giuliani 27, McCain 22, Thompson 16, Romney 5, and everybody else three points or less… until I saw the margin of sampling error was “no greater than 9 percentage points.” Way to narrow it down there, guys.

Also, the poll is of adults. They break it down, for what it’s worth, finding Giuliani does best among 18-39 year olds as well as Tim Pawlenty and Norm Coleman backers; McCain does best among Coleman critics, Bush critics, and, unfortunately, those not registered to vote; and Thompson does best among Pawlenty critics and 40-59 year olds.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Barack Obama’s Smooth Moves



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Barack Obama, in an interview with Tyra Banks, says his first date with his wife Michelle was going to Baskin Robbins near his apartment. He kissed her, and adds, “After the ice cream, it tasted like chocolate.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

E-Campaign Coordinator Departs Brownback Campaign



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While it doesn’t confirm the rumor that the sun is setting on Sam Brownback’s campaign, it is not good luck for the candidate that e-campaign coordinator Leon Wolf, a regular blogger at RedState, is departing the campaign. Wolf says his departure is a matter of competing time commitments.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Fred Thompson, Averaging $200k Per Day Post-Announcement



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Fred’s people send along a few more details on their donors:

(1) More than 60 percent of that $8 million came in after Fred Thompson’s September announcement. Our “quarter” was mostly the month of September.

(2) Donation levels post-announcement = approximately $200,000/day.

(3) Donor base = about 70,000. That is a first quarter donor base larger than that of any other Republican candidate.

Had Fred come in the $5 million range, he would be largely written off at this point. Had he been well into double digits, he would be described as “riding in on a white horse.” As it is, Team Thompson is off to a good start, enough to keep them in the game, but not enough to run away with the nomination this early. 

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

We Also Unfairly Assumed That Foer Saw Charles Lane as Role Model



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New Republic editor Franklin Foer, talking to Vanity Fair about the Scott Beauchamp controversy, tells that magazine that the shadow of former staff fabulist Stephen Glass has “created some unfair assumptions.”

Yes, it created the unfair assumption that the magazine would do the right thing again and retract the stories that had errors in them.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Suddenly, Voters No Longer Like Massive Giveaways of Taxpayer Money



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I think Rasmussen buries the lead: Yes, it’s interesting that sixty percent of voters oppose Hillary’s “baby bond” proposal, but I’m more surprised that forty-seven percent of Democrats don’t like the idea.

Also interesting was that Rasmussen didn’t give information about the cost to poll respondents.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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