Update: “We’re not concerned about Sen. Sinner being able to make up that gap,” says Democrat party executive director Chad Oban, which is one of the funniest things you’ll read all day.
Despite all of the attention it gets, money isn’t everything in politics. Candidates that raise less money than their opponents win all the time. Case in point, North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp who won an upset victory over Republican Rick Berg to take North Dakota’s Senate seat despite spending about $1 million less than her opponent.
But while money isn’t everything, it is a lot of things. You can’t put together the sort of organization it takes to win over voters without at least some money. And judging where Democrat House candidate George Sinner is at about just six months out from election day, some money is going to be a problem. And it’s a problem because he dithered for months before finally announcing his House campaign.
Yesterday we learned that incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer has raised $730,760 so far in the 2014 election cycle, and ended his first quarter fundraising with over $500,000 in cash on hand. That’s more than double the roughly $200,000 he had in cash on hand at this point in the 2012 cycle.
Today we have Sinner’s report (see below), and it’s ugly. In his first filing of the 2014 cycle, Sinner has raised just $37,025 and ended with just $33,183.80 in cash on hand.
To put a percentage to it (and at risk of being entirely too cute with the comparison) Cramer has 1,420 percent more in cash on hand than Sinner does, with just over six months to go until election day.
Democrats will be quick to point out that Sinner just started campaigning. While Cramer has been free to fundraise since the last election cycle, Sinner has only been fundraising since he launched his campaign last month, and the reporting period ended on March 31st.
That’s a fair point, but one of the knocks on Sinner is that he hemmed and hawed for months before finally getting into the House race. His fellow Democrat Pam Gulleson, when she ran for the House in 2012, announced her campaign in November of 2011 and by the time she filed her April quarterly had already raised $405,596.50 and had $313,313.96 in cash on hand.
That was significantly more than Cramer had raised at the time (Cramer was still embroiled in a primary challenge against fellow Republican Brian Kalk).
Here’s how all fund fundraising to date, compared to the last cycle, looks on a graph:
Democrats will spin Sinner’s poor fundraising, because they have to, but by any honest measure the guy is in trouble. And you have to wonder how attractive his campaign is going to be to the national liberal contributors North Dakota Democrats rely on with so many other competitive races around the country.
Here’s the specifics on Sinner’s fundraising through the end of the April quarterly report:
- $28,025 in contributions from individuals, including $2,700 in unitemized contributions
- $9,000 in contributions from political committees
- Sinner received $28,575 in itemized contributions from in state
- Sinner received $9,025 in itemized contributions from out of state
Here’s Sinner’s full report from the FEC: