Monday, May 11, 2009

dollars and political sense

So... if you missed it there was some reporting on the state of finances of the candidates in the City of Pittsburgh mayoral race. It's curious in several ways. The mayor's campaign reports it has spent $661K on the election thus far. That's an awful lot given I have heard no disputing the talk that polling shows him well into the 60's. What is more telling is that I hear more buzz of folks looking seriously at Robinson. She will still be coming in third, but any gains on her part might even the split of votes between her and Dowd which would make polling in the 60's that much more formidable.

So why spend so much and on what has all of that $$ been spent on? One big cost has to be the serious media buys many will have noticed by now. Multiple television ads playing throughout the day add up to some serious change. The LR campaign has almost bought more media than Geoffrey Fieger of late. Someone suggested to me that the sheer amount of ads being run, especially when there were none (or few?, I don't recall any but memory is fading) put out in the race against Desantis is a sign of weakness. I sincerely doubt that, or at least doubt that it's being driven by any fear of losing in the primary. I really have to wonder if the real point is to try and bluster Harris from mounting the fall race he has announced.

At the same time the Dowd campaign reports raising $74K thus far and remarkably only spending $33K in cash over that time... which is an awfully low number for a mayoral campaign. Makes you wonder a bit how they keep the lights on metaphorically. Even the non-campaign run by Peduto 2 years ago had raised $187K even before the filing deadline. Peduto would likely have had a much higher number by this point a week from the election. It's kind of sad that on the list of Dowd's biggest contributors you have $5K from someone who gave the same amount to LR's campaign (and is the same person who gave Peduto 10x more, $50K, 2 years ago). I am not quite sure the point of giving to both unless that is the $ amount needed to get a listing in someone's rolodex Blackberry. Certainly not a big vote of confidence for either candidate over the other. But wherever the money is coming from, even if well produced there is clearly not much money to run the one commercial the Dowd campaign has come up with so far. Delano says it was scheduled to run only once.

Then there is Ms. Robinson who is reported to not have filed at all the required financial report by the statutory deadline. It's possible she has not passed the $250 spending threshold that would require her to file, but she has placed enough print ads around town to clearly be above that. Not good, but does say a lot about how far you can get on sheer effort. That she can't even get a financial report in on time is a sign of just how little organization she has supporting her. She is clearly on track to win the dollar per vote metric, possibly by orders of magnitude.

While we are getting all the local pols mad at us, it's worth noting that the Trib passes on a rumor that into the Arlen-go-round is a potential Mark Desantis candidacy for senate no less. Even the Trib finds the idea a bit incredulous and for my own part I would hope he learned something from the last election. I thought for sure one of his key promises was that he wasn't a 'politician' and wasn't looking for higher office, he was just in it to contribute to the city. Nonetheless it's hard to see how he would even conceive of succeeding in a Republican primary where Arlen saw no prospects. Maybe they are suggesting he is thinking of running as a Democrat?


Blogger Schultz said...

A few comments about your post.

1. Dowd didn't announce his candidacy until a Thursday in late February, and I don't even think he had his mind made up until earlier that same week. That gave him 90 days to campaign until the primary, which really isn't enough time. A lot of people with money who would have contributed to a Peduto campaign or a Dowd campaign under normal circumstances most likely stayed on the sidelines or didn't contribute that much. Why was that? They thought Dowd was too much of a long shot to pull off the upset. When Peduto ran his aborted campaign back in 2007 everyone knew he was running as early as the fall of 2006 so he had time much more time to raise money.

At this point I really have no idea how well Dowd will do, but I do think Robinson is the wild card and could make things interesting. She has the potential to win a portion of the African American vote that normally would go to the mayor.

2. A shocker to see an out of state developer as the top donor to the Mayor's campaign.

3. What do you have against Mark DeSantis? I sense some bitterness whenever his name comes up on your blog. Did he snub you or something?

4. 99% chance that the rumor of DeSantis running for Senate is pure speculation. The only government office I could see him running for in the future is County Executive.

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

What do you have against Mark DeSantis? I sense some bitterness whenever his name comes up on your blog. Did he snub you or something? wow.. If I had time to be bitter over anything I hope I wouldn't waste it on politics. I'm a pretty lucky guy all around and couldn't really justify being too bitter over anything.

but on Mark himself. Not in the least. Nice guy and I take him at his word that he is well intentioned. However I honestly think I am being overly kind in looking at his political prospects. All this hagiography still out there over how he did in the mayoral race is confused. He barely did better than Weinroth with a half million dollars that Joe didn't have.. and not only that Joe was running against Bob O. Not to say everyone loved Bob back then as they do now, but there surely wasn't the visceral ABL vote out there that spotted Mark at least 5-10 points over what Joe had going in.

ACE eh? sure, why not though I thought that is what he was saying he wasn't really in the mayor's race to build toward. But not many prominent R's out there especially with this Mccullough grand jury stuff so he might have an open field. If it was contested I would think an R would have to have a non-Pittsburgh address to win in the primary but who knows. For an R winning in the general is tough. Jim Roddey had spent a couple decades in public roles and even then it took some major blunders by the Dems in that race to just eek out a victory over Cyril. That and the county has changed a lot in the intervening decade. I bet good money more R's than D's have selectively moved out to the suburbs.

But I don't disagree that that may be his plan. In fact, if there is any veracity to the senate rumor even just for talking's sake, it is probably just to get his name out there a bit to help with a future ACE run.

Monday, May 11, 2009 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reports are, amazingly enough, now online on the Allegheny Elections website. I can only seem to get it to work in internet explorer though.

The money appears to have been frittered away... lots of people on the payroll, lots of consulting, some "computer support", and of course, $5,000 to go to the superbowl.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, $642 on "beads".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:16:00 PM  

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