November 4, 2014 Electability Inequality

In the Senate race incumbent Cory Booker (D) during the election cycle by October 15 had receipts of almost $18 million. His challenger Jeff Bell (R) raised $518,000. Today we have not only income inequality but electability inequality. In our federal elections only the financially endowed can succeed. Like a high stakes game of poker, even the better players don’t sit at the table if they can’t raise the money.

In the three races where Democratic challengers put up a strong fight but lost – CD 2, CD 3, and CD 5 – the Democrats were substantially out-funded by the Republican winners. By September 15 in CD 2 Incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R) had $1,018,417 and William Hughes (D) had $93,031. In CD 3 Aimee Belgard (D) had $368,115 and Tom MacArthur (R) who had loaned himself $5 million had $1,102,847. In CD 5 incumbent Scott Garrett (R) had $2,829,026 and Roy Cho (D) had $78,552. In three other races, CD 8, CD 9, and CD 10, where Democratic incumbents were dominant the Republican challengers by September 30 had submitted no financial reports presumably because their receipts did not exceed the $17,300 threshold. In every single Senatorial and Congressional race the candidate who raised the most won the contest.

While there has been discussion but no resolution about publicly financed campaigns, we are now in the world of Citizens United which has raised the problem to a whole new level. This Electability Inequality favors the wealthy, incumbents on key committees, and those supported by independent funders, corporations and other big spenders. Small donations from individuals are welcome but don’t cut the mustard. Pity the ten congressional candidates (Democrats and Republicans) who by September 30 had raised less than $150,000. They never stood a chance.

Comments (14)

  1. firstamend07

    Races are still won by votes, not receipts.

    The key is to get your big  donors early and then add an air of invincibility to your campaign with a clear message and a good organization. Without that you are doomed.

    The little guy can win, but lets face it ,it is always good to be the incumbent.

    Targeting voters and getting them to vote is the key. You must maximize ” your ” vote first before you fight over the independents.

    Elections are like guerilla warfare. If you cannot beat your opponent in a head on fight you pick and choose your fight and on your terms. You have to be nasty and ruthless.

    Was Belgard nasty and ruthless?

    Was Hughes nasty and ruthless?

    Was Cho nasty and ruthless?

    Could they have been? I think they could have.

    The less financed guy can win,but he/she cannot win on the rich guys terms.

    Have a clear simple message, define your opponent,and be ruthless!

    Remember, the money follows winners,not the other way around.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *