Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The $100,000 house race

The campaign finance reports are in, and for what has to be the first time ever, the candidates in the 12th Worcester District primary have raked in over $100,000 in their attempts to win the seat. Here are a few observations from my reading of the reports:
  • The $102,482 Harold Naughton and Steve Kerrigan have combined to raise makes this primary the third richest in the state this cycle, behind only the races in the Fifth Essex and Fourth Plymouth districts. The two campaigns have combined to spend $82,855, which places them second in expenditures. Of those top three races, the 12th Worcester is the only two-man contest.

  • Among contested races statewide, only Fifth Essex incumbent Anthony Verga has raised more money than Naughton's $62,841.

  • Naughton has done much better in the district than Kerrigan has, outraising the challenger by more than eight-to-one. Kerrigan has only tapped 18 contributors for a total of $2,505 in the five towns (and $500 of that is Kerrigan's own money). By contrast, Naughton's report listed 200 local contributions.

  • On the other hand, more than half of Kerrigan's nearly $40,000 has come from contributors living outside of Massachusetts. Over $14,000 came from the Washington, D.C. area. In comparison, Naughton snagged less than $900 from outside the state; of that, $424.50 came from the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.

  • Of course, incumbency has it's privileges. Naughton pulled in over $11,000 from Political Action Committees and trade organizations and nearly $2,400 from fellow candidates and legislators in other districts. Kerrigan did not receive any money from these special interests.
What does it mean? Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but I'd say that the ability to only get 18 contributors from the district probably spells big trouble for Kerrigan. All the out of state money can buy a lot of mailings, but none of those contributors can vote. In a local primary, the people who come out and vote are the ones who are committed to their candidate; casual voters don't take the time. If Kerrigan hasn't been able to get his supporters and potential constituents to commit to his campaign financially, one wonders if he'll be able to get them to care enough to get out to the polls.

Below are the numbers:

Harold Naughton Stephen Kerrigan
Contribution Pct. Contribution Pct.
District $21,825.19 34.7% $2,505.00 6.3%
Rest of State $38,287.00 60.9% $14,750.00 37.2%
Out of State $899.50 1.4% $21,051.00 53.1%
Not Itemized $1,830.00 2.9% $1,335.00 3.4%

TOTAL $62,841.69 $39,641.00

PAC $11,250.00 17.9% $0.00 0.0%
Candidate $2,374.50 3.1% $0.00 0.0%

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