Montana Politics

Congressional Fundraising, Democrats

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Let’s be clear, you can win an election and be on the losing end when it comes to fundraising.  One need look no further than Tester’s come from behind win in ’06 as an example.  And you can definitely win when the money gap isn’t very large.

That being said, here’s a quick look at the congressional fundraising numbers that were released yesterday:

(The first number is 4th quarter 2011 total, the second number is the total for the campaign cycle)

(D) Kim Gillan $52,014, $176,160
(D) Franke Wilmer $55,269, $162,278
(D) Dave Strohmaier $23,085, $72,163
(D) Diane Smith $100,033, $100,003
(D) Rob Stutz $3,265, $13,315
(D) John Abarr no report available

Kim Gillan still leads the pack in overall fundraising, but Franke is close behind.  Diane Smith raised an impressive $100,000, almost doubling Kim and Franke.  What will be interesting to see is how much of that money is hers and how much of it was low hanging fruit.  Can she sustain this kind of fundraising?  If she can, then Gillan has to be worried.

The stronger your fundraising numbers, the more likely the DCCC is going to start quietly backing you.  Right now, the competition for the DCCC’s affection looks like it’s between Gillan and Smith.

For Franke fans, this is great news because it means that Diane Smith could possibly start pealing away some of Gillan’s support.  However, Smith will continue to struggle to gain Democratic backing because of her contributions in the past to Developer Denny and Conrad Burns in addition to press releases saying we need less, not more financial regulation.

The gut reaction after looking at these numbers is that the race for congress has become more of a toss-up than ever before.

On a side note, I have not had a chance to review the “cash on hand” numbers.  Franke has had a pretty high burn rate when it comes to spending in the past and that could hurt her when it comes to having the money to make media buys down the road.  However, the truth is that overall fundraising is what counts right now because it’s one of the only tangible ways of demonstrating overall support.

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M. Storin

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