Articles and Analysis


Senate 2010 Receipts, Expenditures and Cash

The Hotline gave us a summary of the 3rd quarter FEC reports for 2010 Senate candidates. Here I offer two views of the races. The plot above shows receipts against expenditures for the 3rd quarter. Above the diagonal line means more receipts than expenditures, below the line and you have a bad burn rate.

Solid dots are incumbents, open circles are non-incumbents. Blue for Dems, red for Reps (surprise!)  Open a second browser window to use the table at Hotline to see who's who in the charts. (You do have two monitors, right? Let's use them!)

The chart below shows receipts against cash on hand. Here we see the built up advantages most incumbents enjoy regardless of current receipts.
The ideal view is the chart below, combining the two above. It is formatted for a screen 1440 pixels wide and probably won't be very clear on smaller screens. But if you can view it full screen you can read across the two charts-- see the same level of receipts vertically and how that compares to expenditures and cash on hand horizontally. Click the chart to see it full size---it is too small to read in our standard window width.

 Let's take a look at the races Charlie Cook at the Cook Political Report rates as tossups

Key trick to reading the charts: Look for blue and red points close together and towards the upper right. Those are closely competitive candidates with significant resources.  Where you see open circles of the same color close together, you see potential competitive primaries. 

The Connecticut race is shaping up as a huge big money race. Three Republicans have over $1 million cash on hand and incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd has only $2 million in the bank, a small advantage for an incumbent. Ex-WWE CEO Linda McMahon and Ex Ambassador Thomas Foley both have large loan investments in their campaigns, while ex-Rep. Rob Simmons is relatively debt free and raising substantial amounts from others. Dodd raised less than McMahon or Simmons, and has a high burn rate as well. This race looks like the smallest incumbent financial advantage around, either by receipts or by cash on hand. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose polls have been shaky, has a competitive opponent in "Wall Street Banker" John Chachas who has pumped $1 million into his race, leaving a big debt but making his receipts competitive with Reid's $2 million. But now shift your gaze to the cash on hand chart and you see Reid's gigantic advantage in money in the bank, where he holds almost $9 million to Chachas' $1.3M. (The next strongest Republican is ex-UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian with just barely a quarter million raised and less than that in the bank.) Reid may be weak in the polls, but unless a large infusion of Republican donations start flowing into Nevada, Reid will be able to outspend any opponent. (Newly announced ex-NV GOP chair Sue Lowden won't file her first report until January.)  

In Illinois the open seat of Roland Burris is very competitive. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10th) has the Republican primary all to himself in terms of money advantage, with no other Republican raising even 1% of Kirk's take in the 3rd quarter. But the Democratic race is much more balanced. The clustering of open circles in both plots shows that no Dem enjoys a big money advantage. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias ($1.1M raised, $2.4M cash) has a modest advantage but self-financed candidate lawyer Jacob Meister (giving himself a cool $1M) and ex-Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman (who loaned himself $500k) have pumped considerable money into their campaigns. The other serious contender, Chicago Urban League Pres. Cheryle Robinson Jackson, raised just $367k with $318k in the bank.

Kentucky's open Republican seat has real competition in both parties. Republicans Rand Paul (son of Ron) and Sec. State Trey Grayson are evenly matched, as are Democrats Atty. Gen.  Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. (Conway didn't report on expenditures, so is missing from the expenditures chart but not from the cash on hand chart.) This state looks like two competitive primaries as well as a competitive general. 

In Missouri's open Republican seat, each party has a clear front runner and those two are evenly matched so far in the money race. Dem Sec. State Robin Carnahan raised $1.1M with $1.8M cash while Rep. Roy Blunt (R-7th) brought in $1.3M with $2.3M cash. Carnahan has a small lead in recent polls. Close enough for another barn burner in the Show Me state.

In New Hampshire Republican ex-Atty. Gen. Kelly Ayotte outraised Democrat Rep. Paul Hodes (D-2nd) but Hodes has more in the bank. Polls show a tossup with Ayotte holding a slight edge. Should stay competitive. 

Ohio's ex-OMB Dir. and US. Rep. Rob Portman is running away with the Republican money, and has a significant advantage over Democrat Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, by 2-1 in receipts and over 3-1 in cash. (Dem Sec. State Jennifer Brunner failed to provide data on her financial status but said she raised less than $228k brought in for the 2nd quarter.) Despite trailing in money, Fisher has a modest lead in polling as of September. Dem money needs to open up there to stay competitive. 

The loss of incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison to the governors race has so far left Republican contenders trailing in the money race.  Rep. Joe Barton (R-6th), who has not announced an official entry into the race but expressed "interest",  is best off, with half a million raised in the 3rd quarter and $1.7M in the bank. In second place for the GOP is ex-Sec. State Roger Williams, with $336k raised, and $863k cash.  But both Democrats have double that in cash and both out-raised Barton in the quarter.  Houston Mayor Bill White has an advantage on the Dem side (including 1/3 in self-financing) over Ex-Comp. John Sharp, but it could still be a competitive primary as far as money goes. (Sharp failed to supply expenditures so it missing from that chart.) Others may still enter the race and if Hutchison resigns there could be a May 2010 special election just to add to the fun.

Of the races Cook rates as "leans" rather than tossups, Colorado is looking better for Democrats worried that first term appointee Michael Bennet will have a struggle to hold the seat. So far he is well ahead in both receipts and cash over several Republican contenders, the strongest of whom, ex-LG Jane Norton raised half as much in the quarter and has only one-fifth as much in the bank. Still, Bennet has not polled well, so Rep money coming in could make a difference here.

The Pennsylvania race looks very interesting, with ex-Rep. and Club for Growth ex-Pres Pat Toomey dominating the Republican primary contest with $1.6M raised, $1.8M cash. Rep. Joe Sestak's (D-7th) intra-party challenge to newly converted Democratic incumbent Arlen Specter is so far uneven in money, with Specter both raising and banking quite a bit more. Sestak has a substantial $4.7M in cash, but Specter has $8.7. With that kind of money available for a primary it will be interesting to see how damaged the winner of the Democratic primary will be as they enter the general against a well-funded Toomey.

The Florida Republican primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and ex-FL House Speaker Marco Rubio is so far continuing to advantage Crist. Crist raised 2.5 times as much and has 6 times as much in cash. Also, Rubio's cash burn rate has been high, spending more than Crist in the quarter while taking in so much less. On the Dem side, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17th) is far behind Crist with $772k raised and $2.7M in cash. North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns raised just $28k in the 2nd quarter, and hasn't filed a 3rd quarter report.

Of the "likely" races in Cook's rating, North Carolina's incumbent Republican Richard Burr has a strong money advantage. And Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas has yet to see a Republican challenger closing in on money, though State Sen. Gilbert Baker stands out as the one potentially competitive candidate though trailing in cash by 4-1.

We should close noting that money alone doesn't win. Challengers need enough to compete but they don't have to match vulnerable incumbents. These data are most interesting for helping show which non-incumbents are bringing in support at levels that would give them enough to compete, in either open or incumbent seats.