Dishing out the truth about Fundraising

Posted by By at 5 February, at 10 : 32 AM Print

You can almost hear the laughter somewhere in suburban Virginia. Somewhere, in a house literally full of kids, a man is thinking back about reports of his early demise and is chuckling to himself.

Yup, that man is none other than Rick Santorum, he of the Quixotic run for the Presidency. And now you have to take him seriously.

Why? Not because he used the anniversary of Roe v. Wade – and the far left’s inability just to let the date pass unnoticed – to get coverage in every corner of the country; nor because Mike Pence, a darling of the social conservatives, bowed out.

It’s because of the money, stupid.

In the last reporting period, the GOP presidential hopefuls were led in fundraising by two names you’d expect: Mitt Romney ($307,000) and Sarah Palin ($279,000). In third? The Italian kid from da ‘Burgh posting almost $200K.

A few years back when I took a shot at a congressional seat, I learned a lesson that you almost have to be a candidate or an operative to learn: political insiders use money to gauge EVERYTHING. Well, almost everything.

Your ability to raise money, and this is REALLY nuts – is based on how much you have already raised.Basically everybody wants to bet on the winning horse. That is why looking strong early is such a benefit – and why Rick’s $200K is more notable for how it compares to the field than for its actual pecuniary value.

What I mean is that number starts to look a lot better when you consider that household names in the social conservative movement like Huckabee and Gingrich posted $35k and $31K, respectively (although I believe that Newt did most of his fundraising the last two cycles for congressional candidates, a fact that will pay off soon).

And it looks better still when the story about it runs in the Iowa Republican under the heading “Santorum Posts Impressive Fundraising Number.” Iowa is where the first vetting takes place, and if you are credible you have to run reasonably well there.

This all comes on the heels of announcements of Rick’s team “staffing up,” so to speak. The addition of statewide chairs to his PAC in Iowa and New Hampshire is hardly coincidental Nor is the fact that, as one of the most recognizable social conservatives, Rick is also working South Carolina and its ready-made social conservative base. This is another early primary state, and a win there would make it interesting.

It may sound far fetched, but its increasingly plausible – especially if stars like Palin and Huckabee choose the lucrative private sector for another cycle, something that is increasingly likely.

There is a long way to go (actually, less than a year, dear God) until the primary season starts in earnest and a lot can change. But, in the meantime, the guy they all ruled out several months ago is suddenly very much in the conversation.
And before you write it off, remember that this is a guy who beat an incumbent democrat in a democrat seat, defended it, then won the Senate as a conservative in a state that liked its RINOs.

My Point? Don’t write off the scrappy son of Italian immigrants just yet. I know guys like that, and they just don’t know when to quit – and they love to win.

(Want to learn more about the cash candidates raise, then just click on Rock The Capital.)

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This post was written by:
- who has written 77 posts for Rock The Capital
Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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