2008 Postman’s Asking the Wrong Question About Reichert
posted by October 18 at 13:00 PMon
There’s a lot of controversy about Rep. Dave Reichert’s latest fundraising report.
Local blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer caused the flap—getting picked up by the national lefty blogs—by looking at the latest FEC reports and showing that Reichert’s campaign had overstated how much it raised in the 3rd Quarter.
Corrections and clarifications ensued and the headlines changed from “Reichert out raised Burner in the 3rd Quarter” to “Burner out raised Reichert in the Third Quarter.”
Indeed, Reichert raised $294,888 and his Democratic challenger Darcy Burner raised $304,901.
At issue was how much money Reichert’s campaign actually raised from a Bush fundraiser earlier last summer. Originally, Reichert’s campaign had the total well over $200,000, but $47,100 had to be refunded from donors who had exceeded contribution limits. So now, Reichert’s camp is saying they raised $185,000 from the fund raiser.
Fair enough. But the question shouldn’t be “How Much Did Bush Raise for Reichert?” (That’s what Postman is asking on his blog this morning.) Who cares about that? We all know 24% Bush isn’t going to be much help.
The relevant question is: “How Much Did Reichert Raise on His Own?”
Here’s what Reichert’s FEC report says on that score:
He raised $294,888 this quarter, including 218,234.11 from individuals and $88,000 from PACS.
So, if Reichert raised $185,000 from the Bush fund raiser and $88,000 from PAC’s and his total is $294,888, that means he only raised $21,000 from individuals in his own right. That’s some limp fundraising for an incumbent in a hot race.
Burner raised $273,000 from individuals, 13 times as much as Riechert’s $21,000.
Reichert’s Chief of Staff, Mike Shields, told me I was “going out of my way to look for a bad number.” He said: “You’ve somehow turned $218,000 from individual donors into [a smaller number.]” Shields reasoned that the Bush money shouldn’t be subtracted from the totals from individuals. “If you have a Bush event you’re going to put your eggs in that basket for that quarter. These are individuals who gave to Dave regardless of where they did it.”
Complicated footnote, but still bad news for Reichert:
Shields told me—and Reichert’s FEC form confirms—that $35,000 of the “Bush” $185,000 came from the state party’s Bush fundraising money. (Reichert and the Party agreed to share that money.) So, to be 100% accurate: Reichert himself only took in about $150,000 from the event, not $185,000. That means, in the scenario I described, Reichert got about $57,000 from non-Bush event individuals. Still, that would mean Burner got almost five times as much from individual donors.