Monday, May 10, 2010
Lt. Gov. Candidate Lawrence Rael Says He's Raised Total of $364K+, Has $68K+ On Hand
Lawrence Rael, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, announced today he has received more than $364,000 for his campaign since he began fundraising last August. Rael reported that he has raised a total of $34,200 since the last reporting period in April, with $27,150 in monetary donations and $7,050 in in-kind services. Rael has $68,356 cash on hand to help him in the last three weeks of the campaign for the June 1st primary election. His unpaid campaign debt is $120,000. Click to read his May 10, 2010 report on the Secretary of State's website.
“I am very grateful for the support of so many New Mexicans. People across the state are coming on board to support the campaign and they keep telling me that they think experience really matters to them,” Rael said in a statement sent out by his campaign. “I know that my experience, partnered with Diane Denish’s leadership, will make a difference for New Mexico.”
Rael's campaign pointed out that he also received strong delegate support at the Democratic Party Pre-Primary convention in March, winning approximately 22% of the vote and earning the second ballot position in this crowded race. Rael has also been endorsed by the All Indian Pueblo Council and 10 Native American Pueblos.
Here's the full data for this one month period ending 5/10. All the candidates' reports are available on the SoS website here. My analysis is below. Full disclosure - I've supported Brian Colon from the start, and I've already voted for him.
Colon -- 42K / 134K / 114K
Rael -- 27K / 85K / 68K [120K]
Campos -- 28K / 57K / 66K [50K]
Ortiz y Pino -- 17K / 14K / 7K
Lopez -- 4K / 7K / 2K
At this point in the campaign, all the effort will be put into getting the candidates' messages out. I don't intend to critique the candidates or their messages now, but only to look at their finances as they relate to the race. Success will be largely a matter of how much money the candidates spend and what they spend it on.
Lets eliminate the also-rans first. As expected, the candidates who did not meet the 19.5% threshold at the pre-primary convention have not been able to raise sufficient money to compete with the candidates who did. Neither Linda Lopez nor Jerry Ortiz y Pino will be able to buy enough name recognition to make a difference, i.e. TV ads. They were finished before the votes were cast. It's three weeks too early to say I told you so, but...
Brian Colon continues to outraise and outspend the pack, and this is reflected by the fact that he has already spent big bucks on TV (100K in the last month; I suspect those are largely production costs.) He has almost twice as much to spend, too. He also has not loaned himself any money, so he can spend it without reservation. Brian is also mounting a significant field campaign, based on staff payroll and travel expenses. I think he's in the driver's seat now, barring dirty pool or an October surprise.
Lawrence Rael and Joe Campos now have virtually identical amounts of cash raised in the last month, and also Cash on Hand. They've spent it quite differently, however, and Rael's 60K expenditure on media last month probably leaves him in a better position going into the last month of the campaign. Rael does not seem to be running much of a field operation, though. I expect him to concentrate on media buys. Since Colon has already been up on TV, 50% more money to spend in the final month, and a robust field operation, I don't expect Rael's media-only strategy to succeed. OTOH, if the Richardson crowd pumps big bucks into his coffers at the $100 a plate fundraiser in Santa Fe tonight, he might have a chance. His TV ad(s) would still have to be mighty persuasive, though. I don't like his chances.
Joe Campos, on the other hand, has been running what appears to be a field heavy / media light campaign. He spent almost as much as he raised on staff. I guess Marty's endorsement didn't come cheap; he paid more than than $10K to longtime Chavez crony Mark Fleisher, presumably to manage the campaign. Joe also spent a lot of money on travel expenses, consistent with a field-oriented strategy. He also spent $10K on yard signs from Focus Ink. He spent nothing on media production, so I do not expect any TV ads. I do expect more robocalls, billboards, and hopefully direct mail. I don't expect the low-end strategy to work unless he targets Marty's people really well with direct mail. Without any TV, I suspect that Joe has little chance of winning. It will be interesting how his results stack up with Rael's.
Here's how I see the race shaping up. Having the money to compete on TV makes a big difference. Extremely low turnout makes field more important than usual, but not more important than the instant name recognition TV buys. I see Rael's lack of a significant field operation to be a distinct disadvantage compared to Brian Colon. Even if Rael can make up a $35K COH disadvantage in the last month and spends heavily on persuasive TV ads, which seems unlikely, he still has $120K in campaign debt to repay. I don't expect him to suddenly surge enough to overtake Colon. It comes down to this: Rael can't win without a field operation. Campos can't win without TV. Colon has TV and field, and both are probably better than the other candidates' efforts. I expect the final order of finish in this race to be exactly the same as it was at the pre-primary convention: Colon, Rael, Campos, Ortiz y Pino, Lopez. Of course, my record as a prognosticator is spotty. Your mileage may vary.
Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 11, 2010 1:56:32 PM
I'd like to make one final point. Brian Colon, Joe Campos, and Jerry Ortiz y Pino have all used Focus Ink, our excellent local union printer, for almost all of their printing. Joe Campos in particular is due lots of credit for buying over $10,000 of signs, even though he could have saved some money by having them printed out of state. Lawrence Rael has also had his printing done locally by union printers. Thank you all for supporting local business and their workers in these trying economic times.
Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 11, 2010 2:06:07 PM
Your analysis makes good sense, Proud Democrat. I agree with your conclusions although you never know who will show up to vote and how uninformed voters will vote. I also voted for Colon but it was a hard choice between the top three. Part of my reason for finally going with Colon was that he is running the best campaign, by far, as you point out.
Posted by: Old Dem | May 11, 2010 2:25:11 PM
Proud dem...another cool factor Rael and Campos did along with using focus ink for their printing needs is put an ad on our website here. Truly putting their money where other local progressives/ liberals/ just plain old democrats come to read the latest. Supporting what Barb and I do is real valuable for our community. Both Joe and Lawrence stepped right up early and said sure to placing an ad, saw the value in it immediately. I wish other campaigns would do the same. Instead of advertising on other websites, that are not pushing the values we all hold dear.
Thank you Lawrence and Kim Rael for supporting our work. And Thank you Joe and Christina for supporting Barb's and my hard work on this site.
You both are class act couples! I have loved getting to know you all. How lucky we are NM...how lucky we are. These people have totally gone to the mat for the love they have for the State.
Thank You to the Raels and to the Campos's. You guys are special.
Posted by: mary ellen | May 11, 2010 4:56:09 PM
Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 11, 2010 8:23:40 PM
@Old Dem: [blush]
Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 11, 2010 8:55:53 PM
@Proud democrat -- how can you tell who's running the better field campaign?
Lawrence has met with me personally at one of his Women for Lawrence Rael events... Otherwise, no other candidate has visited with me.
Posted by: Rael supporter | May 12, 2010 8:38:41 AM
@Rael supporter: This is my analysis of what the candidates are spending money on. In terms of field operation, I'm looking at paid staff and travel expenses. Colon and Campos have them, Rael doesn't. His staff/consulting budget is small, and what he spends goes to a few consultants. I don't have any direct observation of the Rael campaign. (No "alligators," lol.) I make no pretense of special information or objectivity. The reports are on the Secretary of State's website.
As Old Dem rightly points out, finance reports reveal nothing about how voters respond to the candidates and their messages. They may reveal something about the candidates' strategies and how effectively they're spending their money. If Lawrence Rael is paying for a field operation, I sure can't see it in his expense report. Volunteers are great, and sometimes they're talented and passionate about the candidate. However, political field work is grueling. I can't imagine an effective field operation without paid staff supervising the effort.
Political analysis and prognostication is not my profession. I'm not paid campaign staff. Still, I've had my skin in Democratic Party politics since 2004. I've worked hard on several campaigns, and I've attended several excellent trainings where I learned about parts of campaigns that aren't my forte, like fundraising and media.
I hope readers get some benefit from my analysis and opinions. As always, your mileage may vary. I'm dead wrong sometimes.
Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 12, 2010 1:26:39 PM