Hat tip to DJ at I Don't Hate America for motivating us to take a closer look at third quarter fundraising.
He's taken a close look at Brian Davis's superficially strong fundraising for the quarter. Go read his analysis of the report. DJ's work inspired us to look again at the 4-pak:
Candidate Individual Contributions (cycle) Self-funded
Dick Day $123,222 $30,000
Notes: Most contributors are Minnesota residents; GOP base; district contributions skewed toward Owatonna/Rochester area.
Brian Davis $59,835 $38,493
Notes: All but 15 contributors from out-of-state; little base giving from district or state; several base donors also gave to other candidates in race. MN count includes candidate and spouse.
Randy Demmer $35,480 $115,000
Notes: Nearly all funds from district and then state; little out of state cash; district contributions also centered around candidate's home base
Mark Meyer $10,000 $750
Notes: Local and Twin Cities contributors
What does this mean? First, of all, Dick Day is the only candidate to even kindle a spark with the
Republican base. In the absence of public endorsements and letters listing support from likely delegates, individual contributions are probably the most reliable benchmark for measuring a candidate's success at this stage of the game.
Secondly, while Brian Davis's Q3 fundraising--flowing largely from fellow
radiologists radiation oncologists from around the country--were superficially impressive, a closer look shows little support within the district or even his home base, Rochester and the Mayo Clinic. Only seven physicians from Mayo support the good doctor in amounts that trip the FEC's disclosure trigger; one of those doctors in Davis's spouse. Add in Davis himself, and the large contributor count's up to eight.
It's quite a contrast with the dozens of Mayo physicians, staff, and researchers DJ identified among Walz's FEC reports. Heck, Davis's take from his colleagues is tiny even when compared to the several dozen large contributions from Mayo's community that we found from combing through former Congressman Gutknechts' list from six terms in the House.
Of the five First District residents who gave large contributions ($200 or over) to Davis, three--Mark Neeb, Jack Remick, and Arthur Birdseye--also gave to either Day or Demmer. From the rest of the state of Minnesota, Davis received large contributions from two people: Ellen and Rudy Boschwitz.
Mark Meyer trails the three Rochester area wannabes, and that brings us to another thing we've noticed: the paucity of large contributions to GOP contenders from outside of their stomping grounds. Granted, Rochester is the largest population center in the district, but the tally doesn't show much excitement even for Day and Demmer away from their hometowns.
What's more, after looking at the fundraising Dick Day did for the state-level Senate Victory Fund (pull down committee name from menu here) maintained by the Republican minority caucus in the state senate, it's also likely that he has contacts within the state's GOP contributor base. Davis may well have burned through his PA of med school and professional association contacts (many of whom won't form a contributor base for the 1st CD GOP if Davis fails to get the endorsement at the end of March).
In short, the endorsement contest looks like Dick Day's race to lose, regardless of how much Davis spins his out-of-state fundraising. Nor would we rule out Randy Demmer's appeal to the base, despite his dubious math abilities.
Meanwhile, Walz not only has the incumbent's advantage--however slight it might be for a freshman in a swing district--but the cash edge as well. For the cycle, Walz has received $481,053 in contributions, and those large enough to disclose are primarily from Minnesota. The district contributions come from throughout the district, not just Walz's home base of Mankato. As is to be expected in a competitive seat, his PAC contribution list is robust as well.
The 4-pak will have to spend their dollars in their bid to gain their own party's endorsement (we wouldn't be surprised if Meyer called it a day soon). Meanwhile, the Walz campaign can work on winning the election in November 2008, as it looks unlikely that a primary challenger will emerge.
A third party bid? It may be the GOP's last great hope in this race.