Monday, February 1, 2010

State of the Race: February 2010

Now that all of the numbers are in from the end of 2009, or should be win, we can take a step back and analyze the state of the race in the Virginia 5th. The "Real" Fifth District blog has already put together their own well done ranking of the candidates on some key metrics. I also want to give a shout out to Southside Central for another well done rankings of the candidates.

First, let's look on the cash on hand. Currently, with a 500k loan, Jim McKelvey comes in on top. Robert Hurt is second, then Verga, Boyd, McPadden, and Morton. And Ferrin is . . . somewhere else?

McKelvey, Hurt, and Verga are clearly in the top tier in terms of cash on hand in this race. Boyd and McPadden are probably well positioned to pick up the pace as the race continues. Morton's lackluster quarter really hurts her, but as I've said before you can't rule anyone out . . . yet.

There is, of course, another candidate with a large cash on hand advantage. Perriello has $873,878 sitting in the bank just waiting for the Republican nominee. For comparison, he had $243,559 cash on hand at this point in 2008. Virgil Goode, with campaign manager Tucker Watkins asleep at the wheel thinking he had this in the bag, had only $384,161 cash on hand at this point in 2008. We all know this is going to be a difficult race, but it's worth noting that Perriello now has almost $500k more than Goode did at this point in the race in 2008.

So the real food chain for money goes:

Perriello > McKelvey > Hurt > Verga > Boyd > McPadden > Morton

Now onto donors. There's something fishy with Hurt's claim of over 450 donors. First, this obviously counts unreported donors. I count 213 reported individual donors, including several who donated to his campaign twice. This is far short of Hurt's claim of over 450 donors. He'd have to make up the remaining 237 among his unreported donors, who have to be under $200. With $20,708 unreported this averages out to just at $87 per donor. Is this plausible? Maybe, but we'll have to trust Hurt's word for it.

I think that closes the appearance of a gap between Hurt and Boyd by a significant amount. So we have the following ranking in donors:

Hurt > Boyd > Morton > Verga > McPadden > McKelvey

But, in reality, it's more like this:

Perriello > Hurt > Boyd > Morton > Verga > McPadden > McKelvey

And Facebook? Here:

Perriello (2,107) > Hurt (802) > McPadden (188) > Ferrin (174) > Morton (173) > Boyd (107) > Verga (105) > McKelvey (104)

In a convention I'd be optimistic that the conservative opponents of Hurt would fall in line against him as they are eliminated one by one. But in a primary, I'm worried that the field will remain too large and give Hurt the chance to face off against Perriello. Is Hurt tough enough to take Perriello on? We'll see.


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  2. rather than "take Hurt's word for it", which sounds like you might not believe that he had so many individual donors, just go to Chatham & go thru his books.

    the FEC is very strict.

    and anecdotally, I know several people that donated amounts lower than the reportable limit.

  3. Yes, Kelley! Those in "uppa Virginia" don't realize the impact that the economy had here, even before the economy was an issue! Small donations amongst the 5th's southside will be the norm, and not the unusual!

  4. Hurt's books are not open to the general public and the FEC is not strict at all in its oversight of unitemized contributions.

  5. I would accept the Hurt campaign word if they simply told us how many of his donors are under the $200 threshold. They said 450 total donors it should be easy to tell use that and how much money was from within the 5th district.

  6. mr. sere: i don't know what to tell you to do about your query as to how many of Hurt's donors are under the $200 threshold.

    rather than beat up on a Republican, why don't we all wonder how many of Perriello's donors are under the $200 threshold? isn't he the target?

  7. I must admit I find the inclusion of Facebook friends as any sort of popularity barometer amusing. There can be many people from opposing campaigns, news organizations, and other non-supporters that sign on to be a friend. Heck, I woke this morning to find a friend request from Mike McPadden's page. It didn't come (as most do) as a suggestion from a friend of my own or any other named individual. I can only presume that someone from the McPadden camp has cross-referenced its friends list (I have seven friends signed up for the McPadded FB page, and I am certain only only one or two of them are actual supporters) and that's how I got a request.

    I suppose if there were a way to count "tweets" that include a candidate's name, we'd be counting those too...but it really doesn't mean a damned thing. I would stick to money raised, numbers of donors & volunteers, and other concrete, reliable measures of strength rather than the silly measure of FB friends.