NOVA Virginia Campaigns Overflow with Cash and Questions

Last night was the deadline to report end of year financial figures for candidates for the US House of Representives, which combined with recent developments offer some surprises in Va-10 and Va-11.

The fundraising pace continued at a torrid pace in the Tenth, where Congressman Wolf surged ahead of Judy Feder in cash on hand and brought the heat in his quarterly effort.  As of today’s reports:

Tenth District:                               Q4 2007                                   On hand             Liabilities                  Net

Congressman Frank Wolf            $392,516.00                            $555,250.94     (No liabilities)     $555,250.94

Judy Feder                                     $241,458.08                            $483,002.91    (No liabilities)       $483,002.91

Each has an announced primary opponent, but Democrat Mike Turner has a net of  $12,904.47 in the bank and Republican Vernon McKinley-who for some reason does not have an electronic report that is easily found-has less than $3K net (both have loans in place), so we will not get into details.

Meanwhile, life continued apace in the Eleventh, where Fimian carries big totals and liabilities, Davis has a big roll leftover, and the Democrats are yet to pound out the dollars.

Eleventh District:                           Q4 2007                                   On hand             Liabilities                     Net

Congressman Tom Davis              $197,444.58                              $305,189.54     (No liabilities)        $305,189.54

Keith Fimian                                   $126,076.00                              $656,191.75      [-$327,000.00]   $329,191.75

Leslie Byrne                                    $115,398.01                                $103,911.95      (No liabilities)      $103,911.95

Doug Denneny                                  $19,460.98                                $13,917.07         (No liabilities)        $13,917.07

Gerry Connolly                              [No report…rumored $161,000.00 in bank for this race]

—I apologize for the less than orderly columns…still don’t have the hang of doing that in WordPress—

Yes, I know there is a Va-8, but I am willing to guess that seat will stay democrat in 2008…so I left them off.

What caught my eye?

First I noticed the net of Keith Fimian in Va-11.  While his fundraising skills are highly touted, the fact remains that his net is half as much as his cash on hand, and no one seems to be talking about the more than quarter of a million dollar liability he is carrying.  Just how good a fundraiser will he prove out to be?  If he is able to self finance, OK…but remember (as James Socas learned) there is a millionaire’s amendment, so he best be careful.

Tom Davis, while pouring money into JMDD campaign, still has a sizeable amount in the bank.  I imagine no small part of it will find its way back into the Va-11 campaign.

I assume that with Davis out of the way and Va-11 an open seat the DCCC will declare this a targeted seat and whoever gets the nomination will have massively adequate fundraising…but I am guessing LB3 and Gerry C will have to raise at least another $100,000.00 each to be competitive, and likely more.  As for Denneny, I don’t see how he doesn’t get washed out by a wave of greenbacks.

Question: How debilitating and cost will the Democratic primary be?  If it gets nasty, and large $$ has to be spent, then the $$ edge the GOP can generate by getting behind a candidate early could be significant.

Meanwhile, over in the 10th, I have a hunch Ms. Feder is about to be a victim of her own fundraising success.

Now, Lowell will likely draft one of his Federian spin pieces regardless of what I say at this point.  However, we all know the basics.  Feder stayed even with Congressman Wolf in 2006 and got whacked by 16 points in a democratic year.  We all know about incumbency, constituent services, the district boundaries.  Also in 2006 Ms. Feder got added onto target campaign lists due to some polling that ultimately missed the mark.

Now in 2008 she has again constructed a good fundraising operation.  However, there is now an open seat in Va-11 that will likely be the marquee race in Virginia. 

And if that is not enough, there is the small matter of Va-2, where Glenn Nye will run against GOP incumbent Thelma Drake. Drake won narrowly against Phil Kellam in 2006 despite massively out-raising him.

Question: What will be more attractive to democratic contributors? Give money to take an open seat, to defeat a weak incumbent, or to a candidate who has already lost-and by a sizeable margin? Will they look at the ease with which she has raised money to the moment, and decide she doesn’t need their help and that their dollars will have more of a bang elsewhere?

I don’t know on either count, but it sure does make for interesting prognosticating…because asking the question is always easier than knowing the definitive answer.

We shall see!


9 thoughts on “NOVA Virginia Campaigns Overflow with Cash and Questions

  1. Ah, Bwana, but you forget the primary talking point of the Wolf campaign: Feder raises most of her money from outside VA.

    So, funny as it may seem, Feder is actually the best candidate for the 10th becuase as a national fundraiser she’s in a position to not be handicapped by the exact questions you bring up.

    The bigger problem for Feder is going to be getting press attention amidst all the chaos in the 11th. She’s be fine on money…

  2. WS, it would be wasteful to use up all my stuff at the same time! 😉

    I didn’t forget it, I just didn’t think it germane to this post. Besides, unless folks are directly tied to her the same question kicks in.

    Consider, for instance, the very clever Rahm Emmanuel move two years ago…

    It is the end of the 2006 campaign, and he has dem groups all over the country who have money to donate but don’t know where to send it. He widens the targeted campaign list, tosses in a little money to them, and suddenly folks are getting money from groups w/whom they have no real connection…but they were on Rahm’s list as worthy contribution targets. Great idea by Rahm.

    Fast forward two years…while folks like Ms. Feder are now known by these same groups, are they likely to automatically give to her in the face of the 2006 result with an open seat in va-11 and a much weaker GOP incumbent in Va-2? Between the October 2006 poll that was waaaaaay off the mark and the 16 point margin in 2006, I do wonder how it impacts her campaign money raising.

    Well, must run…the Hall of Fame balloting prayer vigil is about to start…

  3. GC in the 11th has already raised $160K? Under FEC rules he should have declared officially after raising $5k – or am I wrong about that?

  4. Feder is a national fundraiser because she gets very little money from inside the district. She can’t get district money because she is so out of touch and anti-business. She is allied with extremist left wing organizations that advocate mandatory socialized medicine. Just take a look at who gives her money. Its that simple. God help us, if she were ever elected she would owe socialized healthcare industry big time. Feder would essentially be a pawn of them. The last thing we need is for DC to get another representative.

    I have always maintained that she could outraise our Congressman by a margin of 3 or 4 to 1 and still not win. People in the 10th just do not buy her moveon talking points. Feder and her little sidekick over at Raising Kaine are in complete desparation mode now throwing out conspiracy theories and such.

    I think its pretty obvious that Wolf is as popular as ever with his huge crowd at the kickoff.

  5. The rumor is that Chairman Gerry has said he has raised $161K…I don’t have access to his records or the timing of the money, or if the rumor is even true.

    I only know what I hear around the tobacco store, but I thought it would paint a false picture to not list him.

    What makes me think there is truth to this is how he gave to little to candidates in the recent GA/BOS races…he may have that much money tucked away.

    But again, this is just the rumor…

  6. Bwana, that $327K that Fimian “owes” is a loan from himself to the campaign. I’m not sure if I would count that as a liability, or discount it from his net.

  7. VB-Understood…but I suggest it has to be discounted in some way, if only to give an accurate picture of his actual fundraising prowess.

  8. That is a fair point; however, the ability to self-fund is an important part of finaincing campaigns. At the end of the day, a dollar raised through fundraising and a dollar self-funded buys the same thing.

  9. The thing folks keep on forgetting is that under current law there are limits to how much one can self fund before the Millionaire’s Amendment kicks in. I know that in 2004 the limit was $350K, and when you pass that then individual contribution limits for your opponents are doubled. I am not sure how the loan figures into it, but I doubt the law would allow a candidate to loan their campaign a sum in excess of the Mill/Amend limits w/o kicking in the doubled provision.

    Fimian may prove to be the best fundraiser out there, and certainly with $300K+ he is showing great skill. However, can he keep it up? If he is going to self finance, how vulnerable to charges of trying to buy the seat will he be?

    While his record to date shows him to be an impressive fundraiser, everyone keeps talking about how he has raised $656K as if it is all money that has come in…let’s not forget that he has loaned himself a large chunk of change, and that there are potential liabilities tied to the significant amount of money he has lent his campaign.

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