Star Ledger Editorial Misunderstands Fundraising

More good diary rescue tonight. Promoted by Rosi

The Star Ledger attempted to honor the 21st century media god of equivalency instead misinformed their readers about fundraising.  Today they published an opinion piece saying that Senator Frank Lautenberg is being heavy handed in suggesting the Cory Booker should be spanked for talking about running for the 2014 US Senate.

But, now that they put Lautenberg in his place, the Star Ledger feels obligated to slap Booker around, too.  After all, you can’t say one side is wrong without doing so the other and still maintain your press credentials.  Especially not in an editorial piece where opinion matters.

As for Booker, yes, he could have been more graceful. The smart money says Lautenberg will not run for re-election, so Booker could have waited. He says he needed to establish a committee to begin raising money for the race in 2014, but what was the rush?

That race remains more than a year off, and Booker can raise the needed money in time without breaking a sweat. Others who have expressed interest in running, including Rep. Frank Pallone and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, have shown more deference.

The first thing the Star Ledger messes up is their own culpability in Booker announcing his intention to run for Senate.  The media had decided long before that Booker was going to run for a statewide office soon, and the only statewide offices in NJ are Governor or US Senate.  As soon as Booker declined to run for Governor the media would have swooped in and started talking about his Senate run.

Which left Booker with two choices: 1) be disingenuous and decline to answer or say he hadn’t decided yet; or 2) say he was running for Senate.  We already see what #2 has done to him, and number one would have been as equally damaging with all the media suggesting he was lying.

But the bigger issue is with the second part where the Ledger suggests Booker could have waited to start fundraising and then uses Frank Pallone as an example.

Pallone already has a federal fundraising account for his Congressional campaign, one he has built up over years and years of planning to run for Senate while he slapped around weak opposition from the GOP.  He can transfer that $3.5 million from one federal account to another, going from the House of Representatives to the US Senate.

But Booker cannot do the same with a state FEC account, where money raised must be for NJ races and not federal races.  Which means Pallone is already $3.5 million ahead of Booker if Booker doesn’t start now and has more time to expand his lead.  Sure, Booker could raise enough for a general in almost no time.  But could Booker make up a $4 million or larger deficit in 12 months for a primary?

Maybe, maybe not.  But starting now makes it likely he could do so and have an even chance to make a difference.

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