Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crucial Financial Reports Coming Soon...

The Hill newspaper put out a story just recently about the pressure of the upcoming FEC reports on candidates across the country

Interestingly enough, the paper listed the battle in NY-23 as one of the eight most important races to watch this quarter. Candidates will file their financial reports by October 15th. The file will show how much money each campaign spent and how much they have raised for the final 2-3 week push before the big vote on November 3rd. The story reads:
Party officials often use fundraising totals to gauge how much or how little to support a candidate. A strong report can give a candidate access to major donors around the country but a weak report can doom a slumping campaign to obscurity... With a month to go before Election Day, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has the most to gain with a stellar report. If he is not seen as a serious candidate because of a weak fundraising performance, the race could largely revert to a contest between the two major parties. The NRCC and the DCCC have each spent more than $100,000 on the race so far, but the amount of money Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and attorney Bill Owens (D) raise will show just how many positive spots to expect in the next month. The lower the numbers, the more the race will be in the hands of Washington strategists, who are more than likely to take shots at the other party than to build up their own candidates.
In the end, all the numbers are relative. If one of the three candidates in NY-23 makes a breakout performance in fundraising and cash on hand for the final weeks of the campaign you can expect to see a steady rise in advertisements and presumably poll numbers/support.

We are going to take an estimated guess now of what the candidates should raise and what we think they are going to raise below.

Since Owens has already put out two positive ads introducing himself to voters we here at Draft Dede think that Owens has likely already raised a fair amount of cash (thanks to national Democratic leaders including Vice President Biden).  Owens has likely spent at least $150,000 already and will need at least another $300,000 cash on hand as of the October 15th filing deadline to remain competitive and rise in the polls.

Dede Scozzafava didn't go up with her own positive spot until after the filing deadline, which leads some insiders to speculate that fundraising has been less than stellar. However, if Dede can have raised at least $350,000 by the deadline she should have enough cash to flood the airwaves and TV's of NY-23 voters. Dede should be able to outperform her opponents in fundraising since she has a fundraising base from her time in the NYS Assembly, because she has good name ID in the district, and because their are more Republican and sympathetic Democrats out there to give her high dollar contributions (i.e. $1,000 + checks). If Dede fails to reach expectations (especially since she is the most attractive candidate who is leading all the public polls), her opponents and national donors will surely see a weak report as a major blow to the Scozzafava campaign. Unfortunately for Dede she has more to lose if the public financial intake is lower for her campaign compared to the other candidates. Another troubling problem Scozzafava might have is if her brother Tom Scozzafava, folks involved with Hacketts, or Seaway Valley Capital are listed on her reporting list. We are told that this could become a troubling issue for Scozzafava in the mainstream press because of the influence that those parties could put on Scozzafava if she were the next congressman from NY-23. 

The wildcard is Doug Hoffman who has been lining up endorsements and PAC contributions by the day. No one expects Hoffman to outraise Scozzafava or Owens, precisely because he is a third party candidate. That said, if Hoffman expects to be competitive he will need to raise at least $175,000 to make a major splash in the race. Hoffman is also a wildcard because he has the ability to self-finance part of his effort. Some who are closely following the race say that Hoffman has already committed to putting in 100 to 200K. If Hoffman were able to come through on October 15th with more than $225,000 then that could be a major problem for Scozzafava. 

Our expectation on the reports are as follows:

-  Owens: $350,000 (including $25,000 from himself)
-  Scozzafava: $425,000 (including $25,000 from herself)
-  Hoffman: $165,000 (including $100,000 from himself)

These numbers are no small deal because if one candidate outperforms it could be a major momentum shift in the campaign, and with only 2+ weeks before the vote candidates with a weaker performance might very well be kissing their congressional dreams goodnight.