Wednesday, November 17, 2004

November 5

So how expensive did contested races get down the stretch? From Monday morning until the polls closed Tuesday night, candidates in hot races reported a staggering $2.1 million in contributions. The bulk of that, $750K, went to Gordon Maag in his ultimately failed effort to win a Supreme Court seat (and, it turns out, hold on to his appellate court seat). But was any of this money really necessary? Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-32) got $255K; she ended up winning by 24 percentage points, but was the late money really the reason? Her opponent, Patrick Ouimet, got $128K, which surely offset some of the effect. Rep. Careen Gordon (D-75) and her opponent Doug Hayse both reported about $50K. Rep. Bob Churchill (R-62) and his opponent both reported about $40K. Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-79) and her opponent both reported about $20K. With equal and offsetting amounts, it's hard to see how this late money makes much of a difference. Except in policy. Even in political campaigns, money does not grow on trees. It comes from donors, and donors have agendas. In order to come up with the cash to flood Election Day with door-hangers, doughnuts and doo-dads, the caucuses had to ask somebody for the money. Whether or not that money effected the outcome of the elections, it certainly created chits which the donors can still call in. When veto starts next week, and when the regular session starts next January, remember who gave to whom. Surely, the candidates and caucuses will.

No comments: