In March of 2012 North Dakota Democrats saw a huge surge in their fundraising, putting over $151,000 in the bank. That was no doubt thanks to their state convention which featured former President Bill Clinton.
In March of 2014, however, Democrats didn’t do nearly so well raising a much more pedestrian $62,210.89. Coming off an abysmal fundraising report from top-of-the-ticket candidate George Sinner, who is challenging incumbent Congressman Kevin Cramer for the state’s US House seat, it doesn’t look good.
But there are some caveats before we can say this is a thing.
First, here’s a graph showing monthly fundraising numbers for North Dakota Democrats through the end of March pulled from their monthly FEC reports (latest report below).
First, North Dakota Democrats held their state convention about two weeks later in the cycle than they did in 2012. They held their state convention in mid-March last cycle, and the end of March this cycle. This reporting period ended on March 31st, so the later event may have changed the timing on some of the donations.
Second, as I already mentioned, in 2012 Democrats had Bill Clinton headlining their event. A political star like that attracts attention and donations. In 2014 their convention headliner was long-time Minnesota Rep. Colin Peterson who, let face it, doesn’t draw even a fraction of the interest Clinton does.
Third, it’s worth noting that up until now Democrats have been posting very strong fundraising numbers, consistently beating last year’s monthly totals. So far in the 2014 cycle Democrats have raised over $593,000 compared to just over $520,000 in 2014. Even with a big drop off in March, they’re still ahead.
So, really, we won’t know what to make of this drop-off in fundraising until next month’s report. Democrats may have banked a lot more post-convention donations than this report is showing.
But if I had to bet, I’d say Dems will probably start to fall behind their 2012 fundraising pace. Because they didn’t have a Bill Clinton at their state convention. There is only one federal race in North Dakota this year, and Democrats don’t look to be very competitive in it.
In fact, the most competitive race on the statewide ballot this year is going to be the Agriculture Commissioner race, but that isn’t the sort of thing that’s going to draw a lot of cash to the state party.
We’ll see next month, but if Democrat fundraising continues to fall off it could be the first inkling that this isn’t their year. Again.