The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner reports that real estate speculator and Republican senatorial wannabe Dino Rossi “pulled in $1.4 million during his first month in the race.” On the surface, not too shabby. But… technically, it was Rossi’s first five weeks in the race, and if you’re looking at fundraising trends for evidence of voter enthusiasm, let alone the ability of a candidate to compete in the looming air war, that extra week makes quite a difference.
An additional $1.4 million a month from July 1 through November 2 would bring Rossi’s totals to about $7 million, a hair more than Sen. Patty Murray’s current $6.8 million cash on hand, though far short of her $11.5 million total. That said, Sen. Murray has picked up her fundraising pace since Rossi entered the race, hauling in an additional $1.6 million during the recently ended quarter, and, well, it takes money to make money, so a sizable chunk of Rossi’s monthly haul inevitably goes out the door in fundraising costs. Thus, while Rossi is certainly gaining ground on the incumbent — starting from zero, how could he not? —even $1.4 million per month would leave him at a substantial dollar disadvantage.
But Rossi isn’t really hauling in the bucks at a pace of $1.4 million a month, now is he?
Remember, Rossi famously boasted, and the media faithfully reported, that he raised over $600,000 in his first official week of campaigning, the first six days of which actually fell in the month of May. No doubt there was some pent up pro-Rossi excitement… and despite the campaign finance laws, no doubt a bunch of big donors were lined up in advance. But once he picked all the low hanging fruit, Rossi’s fundraising numbers clearly trended down, only bringing in an additional $800,000 during the month of June.
Extrapolate that number over the four remaining months of the campaign, and Rossi only raises $4.6 million total. Then figure in his fundraising costs plus Murray’s future haul, and that’s enough to buy Rossi a race in which he gets himself outspent by a better than two to one margin. Not so hot for a candidate whose name ID and fundraising prowess are his two biggest qualifications.
And according to Real Clear Politics, Rossi’s relatively anemic results are not from lack of trying:
[H]e basically admitted that because he started so late, his campaign organization is currently in a mad dash to cut into Senator Patty Murray’s huge fundraising advantage.
And a mad dash that first week was. Unfortunately for him, a senate campaign is a marathon, and in this and other respects, Rossi’s starting to look awfully damn tired.