You know I couldn’t help but look at Keeling’s FEC post today and not think back to how he tried to spin John Kasich’s last campaign finance report (in which Strickland’s CoH advantage grew, Kasich raised less and spent more while Strickland was the only campaign running ads.)

Introducing, JON KEELING’S RULES FOR SPINNING CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS.

Rule # 1: Cash-on-hand figures matters (if the Republican has the advantage.)

When Stivers has less than a $300k Cash-on-Hand advantage, it’s “Dollar Domination for the Win.”  When report after report shows that Ted Strickland has a $2 million cash-on-hand advantage, Keeling says it’s meaningless.

Rule # 2: Advantages in how much a candidate raises compared to their opponent matters (if the Republican has the advantage.)

Here’s what Keeling said about Stivers raising more money during the last quarter than Kilroy:

Contributors give money in tight races and to people they believe are going to win.

Okay…. except that in the last campaign finance report Ted Strickland raised more money than Kasich did.  So what did Keeling say then?

Strickland relies on special interest to fund financial surge.

So when lobbyists donate to a Republican, it’s a virtuous sign of the strength of the candidate over their opponent, but when they do that for a Democrat, it’s a symbol of how corrupt that Democrat is.  Got it!

Rule # 3:  Fundraising totals show how the political environment is (so long as you only look at the numbers that favor the GOP.)

In talking solely about the Stivers and Tiberi campaign figures, Keeling boasts:

“[T[hese fundraising totals really are a case study in how this election season is going.

Do they?  Because the comparison of the Strickland-Kasich, Cordray-DeWine, Pepper-Yost, Space-Gibbs, Wilson-Johnson races all contradict his handpicked case study.  The exceptions exceed the races he’s cited as the rule!

Stivers may have more money, but not so much more as to really constitute an appreciable advantage, especially when you consider  that the DCCC can swamp the NRCC with money in this race as Keeling later concedes.

But if Paula Brooks is doomed as Keeling suggests because she’s facing a 3:1 cash-on-hand disadvantage, how in the hell can he claim that:

Their challengers, Bill Johnson and Bob Gibbs, respectively, still have a ways to go when it comes to raising money, but they are up against two Democrat [sic in original] incumbents in congressional districts that went to McCain in 2008. With the proper fundraising, they could pose a very serious threat this fall.

Both Johnson and Gibbs face roughly a 6:1 cash-on-hand disadvantage.  If these guys could be “a very serious threat” with “proper fundraising,” then guess what?  So can Paula Brooks, and she’s much closer to proper levels of fundraising than either Johnson or Gibbs who both have less than 1/6th of the cash-on-hand as Brooks does.  You can run a good campaign with what Brooks has on hand, not so much with Johnson or Gibbs.

Brooks has enough money to run a serious campaign on now, something neither Johnson nor Gibbs can claim.

Rule #4 Always try to make the GOP’s effort sound more impressive by suggesting that they just got into the race later than they really did.

Keeling’s done this both with Stivers and Kasich now.  Anyone seriously believe that Steve Stivers stopped running for Congress after the 2008 election?  Me neither.

Although Ted Strickland didn’t “officially” announce he was running for re-election months after Kasich “officially” announced, Keeling constantly likes to pretend that Kasich’s official announcement was when he actually began to build a statewide campaign fundraising organization when Strickland never stopped.  While he’s correct about the laas financitter, he’s woefully misleading on the former.

Kasich formed a PAC called Recharge Ohio in 2007 that everyone in the Ohio political world knew was nothing more than his vehicle to launch a gubernatorial campaign last year.  It was no secret.  Kasich spoke at Recharge Ohio events about his future gubernatorial campaign.

So in reality, Strickland and Kasich have been working on creating a statewide campaign fundraising infrastructure, and raising money, for just about the same amount of time.  Same thing with Stivers and Kilroy.

Stivers kept raising money after the 2008 general election and then began in earnest in the third quarter of the year.  At best, he took six months off between the two cycles when his campaign didn’t take in any donations.  In other words, at best, Kilroy raised money six months longer than Stivers has been, not the year and half advantage Keeling falsely suggests.  Stivers’ own 2009 FEC reports betray Keeling’s boasts of a huge time advantage for Kilroy.

So what DO these reports show?  Tiberi has a lot of money and he’s holding onto it rather than giving it to other GOP candidates in competitive races.  That seems to indicate he views Brooks as a serious threat.  Kilroy-Stivers and Driehaus-Chabot are as financially competitive as we’d expect given how politically competitive these rematches were just two years ago.  And all the other races that Republicans are trying to tout as potentially competitive in Ohio are just pretenders.

Stivers raised slightly more and has more on hand than he did two years ago, while Kilroy raised slighly less and has slightly less on hand.  However, the DCCC has even a bigger fundraising advantage that it did two years ago and can equate that.

Pat Tiberi faces a far better-funded and well-known Democratic candidate who he is hording resources to hold off in what is supposed to be a Republican “tide.” 

Driehaus raised roughly the same at this point in 2006, but has substantially  more on hand this time.  Chabot has raised about the same, but has substantially less on hand.

Boccieri’s facing a self-funder who is double where his opponent was two years ago, but then again Boccieri has twice the amount on hand he had two years ago, too.

That’s the real campaign finance picture: Wilson and Space have never been at such an advantage, Stivers is slightly better while Kilroy is slightly worse, the opposite is true with Driehaus-Chabot (which Keeling didn’t even MENTION), and Jon Boccieri has a financial advantage against a self-funder that kept pace enough that he has just as much of a financial advantage as he did two years ago.

If campaign finance reports are indication of how the election season is going, than the big picture suggests that from a financial standpoint its not much different for Congressional Democratic candidates than it was two years ago.

At best for Republicans, they can point to the fact that Jean Schmidt’s campaign can repay the candidates debt as she appears to not be seriously challenged this year while Sutton has to hold off a self-funded millionaire.  However, the latter is a GOP contrived situation.  They do not suggest a 180 degree change in the political environment in Ohio.  They don’t even suggest a 90-degree one.  At best, things have cooled off for Republicans given the anti-GOP fevor two years ago, but these campaign finance reports do not indicate a desire for a GOP return to power.

 

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