Leadership PACs and the Early Line on 2008
The Fix tends to view leadership political action committees more and more as a thing of the past when it comes to presidential politics (more on that in a future post), but they remain the best window into watching the potential 2008 candidates jockey for early position
Many -- though not all -- of the likely contenders file monthly reports detailing contributions and expenditures made by their leadership PACs. Those reports hit the Federal Election Commission's Web site this past Tuesday night. A chart can be found at the end of this post detailing the basic balance sheets of the nine politicians (four Republicans and five Democrats) widely expected to make a run for the White House.
The most interesting filing of the month came from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who continued to seed early primary states with cash.
McCain raised $488,000 in the month of May, spent $803,000 and ended the period with $762,000 in the bank. How McCain spent his money is telling. Of the 51 direct donations made by his Straight Talk America PAC, all but two went to candidates or party committees in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Alabama.
McCain sent 15 donations totalling $30,500 to a variety of city and county Republican committees in New Hampshire, the state that will host the first presidential primary. In South Carolina, McCain's PAC made 15 donations -- 13 of which were $1,000 checks to state House candidates. He also gave $3,500 each to the South Carolina House and Senate Republican caucuses.
In Alabama, McCain's PAC made 11 contributions to a variety of local GOP organizations and candidates. Why? In an event largely missed by the national media, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley signed legislation into law in late April that moved the state's 2008 primaries from June 3 to February 5, a move that establishes Alabama -- along with South Carolina -- as a make-or-break Southern state on the road to the nomination. Don't forget that McCain also campaigned in Alabama last fall for George Wallace Jr., who faces businessman Luther Strange in a July 18 runoff for the GOP lieutenant governor nomination.
The Fix has said it before (and The Hotline's Chuck Todd noted in his most recent presidential rankings): McCain and his team are playing the inside game about as well as it can be played at the moment.
None of the other three Republicans who file monthly came close to matching McCain.
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) continued to raise solid money ($466,000) and use his Volunteer PAC as a clearinghouse for linking up GOP donors with candidates around the country. But VOLPAC only donated $10,000 directly from the PAC in May. Mike McGavick, who is running against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), got $5,000, as did South Carolina state Rep. Ralph Norman, the GOP candidates against Rep. John Spratt (D).
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani raised $159,000 for his Solutions America PAC but made only one donation to a candidate -- $5,000 to state Sen. Jeff Lamberti, who is the candidate in Iowa's 3rd District.
Where's Mitt Romney? The Massachusetts governor's Commonwealth PAC is incorporated in a handful of states -- all of which have different filing deadlines and requirements. Romney does have a federal arm of the Commonwealth PAC, but it files quarterly instead of monthly.
Ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner continued to rake in donations at a rate that dwarfed his competitors.
Warner raised $1.1 million in May alone and has collected more than $7 million since forming the Forward Together PAC last July. Although he spent $508,000 last month, just $31,000 of that went to candidates or parties.
Forward Together gave $17,000 to the New Hampshire state Senate caucus, $10,000 to the Democratic Party of Georgia and $4,000 to Corey Booker's successful campaign for mayor in Newark, N.J. Warner has made donations to more than 50 candidates in 30 states through Forward Together and is in the midst of an online effort to pick 10 more candidates who will receive $5,000 each from the PAC. In addition, Warner has committed to host a fundraiser for a candidate to be selected by his Web community.
For Warner, raising tons of cash for his leadership PAC and then doling it out to Democrats around the country makes perfect sense from a strategic perspective. A politician who has held only one office in his career, Warner must work extra hard to court party leaders around the country and he lacks the kind of national organization already in place for most of the candidates people he will run against in 2008. The strength of his fundraising through Forward Together also proves that Warner can raise money despite the stricter limits on national PACs -- restrictions he never had to deal with running for office in Virginia.
Sens. John Kerry (Mass.) and Russ Feingold (Wisc.) each raised $271,000 in May for their PACs, and each ended the month with more than $500,000 in the bank. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) continued to draw down her fundraising for HILLPAC even as she continues to raise millions for her main campaign committee. In May HILLPAC raised $122,000 and made $22,500 worth of direct donations to candidates and party committees. HILLPAC closed May with $100,000 in the bank.
And for all the excitement and energy within the so-called "netroots" for retired Gen. Wesley Clark, his WesPAC did little in the way of fundraising last month. It raised $26,000, spent $58,000 and had $16,000 in the bank at the end of the month.
Remember that any money left over in a leadership PAC can't be transferred to a presidential exploratory committee. As such, many of these candidates -- Clinton, Kerry and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana to name three -- have raised the majority of their dollars through Senate campaign accounts, which can moved to a presidential committee.
Here's are two charts listing leadership PAC financials for the nine likely 2008 White House contenders:
Candidate PAC Raised Spent COH* McCain Straight Talk America $488,000 $803,000 $762,000 Giuliani Solutions America 159,000 141,000 241,000 Frist VOLPAC 466,000 449,000 659,000 Hagel Sandhills PAC 19,000 60,000 139,000
Candidate PAC Raised Spent COH Kerry Keeping America's Promise $271,000 $257,000 $502,000 Feingold Progressive Patriots Fund 271,000 112,000 546,000 Clinton HILLPAC 122,000 150,000 100,000 Warner Forward Together 1.1M 508,000 4.1M Clark WESPAC 26,000 58,000 16,000
* COH = Cash on Hand
June 22, 2006; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Democratic Party , Eye on 2008 , Republican Party
Save & Share: Previous: Alaska Gov.: Results Matter, Not Manners
Next: CT Senate: Lieberman, Iraq and the Price of Principle
Posted by: KAS | June 27, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: section9 | June 26, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ohio guy | June 24, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: oHIO GUY | June 24, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mark | June 23, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hank | June 23, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Joseph P. Turtle | June 23, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Slim Girl in Pearls | June 23, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tina | June 23, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mike Stavos | June 23, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SharonColeman | June 23, 2006 5:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Southern Progressive | June 23, 2006 1:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Southern Progressive | June 23, 2006 1:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ohio guy | June 22, 2006 9:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Lawrence Frogg | June 22, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bill | June 22, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: robert chapman | June 22, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Slim Girl in Pearls | June 22, 2006 5:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nate from appleton wi | June 22, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JimD | June 22, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tom | June 22, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tina | June 22, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RMill | June 22, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: KAS | June 22, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: KAS | June 22, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | June 22, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Debbie Watson (www.4condi.com) | June 22, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Spencer | June 22, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: IMHO | June 22, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ag | June 22, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Red State Dem | June 22, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Troy Simpson | June 22, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | June 22, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 22, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.