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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bottom of the Class

Sunday was the day all FEC reports were due for second quarter, and as I pointed out earlier; Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D (D-Appleton) didn't have an impressive showing.

How bad?

Well, according to the Hill he's the one with the worst fund-raising record of the DCCC's Frontline candidates with only $420,000 for the first half of the calendar year. Frontline is the DCCC's program meant to protect what they deem as vulnerable candidates or attack vulnerable GOP candidates.

In fact,
many of the DCCC's Frontline candidates didn't hit their targets, and some freshmen Democrats are already whining behind the scenes their target donation amounts were set too high.

Soon after the 2006 election, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) announced that Democrats in the committee’s Frontline program would aim to raise between $600,000 and $1 million by June 30.

According to Federal Election Commission reports that were due Sunday, 10 of the 24 Frontline freshmen did not hit the fundraising objective, and some missed the mark by more than $100,000.

Frontline is a program designed to help vulnerable incumbents raise money, and it is dominated by freshmen following the Democratic takeover in 2006.

One source close to a Frontline member was critical of the DCCC for setting such an ambitious goal and making it public. The source said members were frustrated with the goal.

“To publicize your goals, especially in some of these smaller districts that have a smaller donor base or, frankly, are poorer — it’s just harder to raise money,” the source said, adding that it is difficult for members in rural districts to approach small donors so soon after the 2006 election and ask them to give again.


Freshman Frontline Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Ron Klein (Fla.) led the pack, each exceeding the goal with more than $1 million. Rep. Steve Kagen (Wis.) had the lowest fundraising total, at $420,000, and Reps. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.) and Ciro Rodriguez (Texas) also raised less than $500,000.

Most Democrats fell just short of the fundraising goals. In addition to Ellsworth and Walz, Reps. Heath Shuler (N.C.), Zack Space (Ohio), Nick Lampson (Texas), Paul Hodes (N.H.) and Chris Carney (Pa.) raised more than $500,000.

Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) raised $600,000.
Kagen is showcasing the two things many observers from the sidelines saw was going on last cycle, he never developed any sort of in-district (in-state, or hell ANY!) fund raising network, and his millions are still a deterrent for people to give.

After all, people don't like giving to a millionaire, that's always been the case. Kagen's problem with campaign money this cycle seems to be that no one outside of his campaign seemed to have gotten the memo others were supposed to pay the bills this time.

I mean, what's $180,000 to Kagen; one-tenth the sale of his Florida home if it comes to that?

One final point. The majority of Kagen's money is designated for the 2008 Primary, something that the Congressman is unlikely to face. What that means is the $300,000+ in Primary COH is going to two key places: early ads to puff himself up while the GOP candidates are clubbing each other, and his own pocket since he still has $469,300 in debt to pay off of the $2.6m he pulled from his pocket in 2006.

Money designated for a Primary fight, must be spend during a primary fight. You can't carry it through to the General Election if you're a federal candidate.

Correction: My sources on the above paragraphs were in correct, since they all ran campaigns before McCain-Feingold became law. Rules on Primary / General election accounts changed with its passing.

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