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Six Senate candidates to watch in the dash for cash

1. With the second fundraising quarter having ended officially on Thursday, the holiday weekend will be anything but restful for campaign committee staffers waiting nervously to see how their candidates performed (or didn't).

Smart political strategists view this quarter as the most crucial of the election cycle; with four months left until the November election, it's now-or-never time for challengers and open seat candidates. Fall too far behind now and there's no reasonable expectation of closing the financial gap before the fall.

We'll have a full winners and losers post once the reports trickle in next week but, for now, here's a look at six Senate candidates with much to gain (or lose) in the chase for campaign cash:

* Charlie Crist (I): The Florida governor was among the best fundraisers in the country as a Republican -- collecting better than $10 million and banking $7.5 million for his Senate bid through April. But, Crist's fundraising had slowed considerably over the last six months as polling showed former state House Speaker Marco Rubio catching and then surging past him in the Republican primary. Crist's party switch -- he is now running as an independent -- was a direct result of the fact that he no longer had a viable path to the nomination. But, as a man without a party, where does Crist's cash come from?

* Lee Fisher (D): Fisher, the Ohio lieutenant governor, has consistently been one of the most disappointing fundraisers on either side of the aisle. Fisher's numbers through mid-April -- $3.9 million raised, $906,000 on hand through mid-April -- weren't good and didn't take into account all of the spending he did in advance of the state's May 4 primary. Having lost his second campaign manager earlier this month, it seems unlikely that Fisher turned his financial ship around. And, if he didn't, the fundraising disparity between he and former Rep. Rob Portman (R) will start to matter -- Portman is already on television -- in the coming weeks.

*Andrew Romanoff (D)/Ken Buck (R): Both Romanoff, who is challenging appointed Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in the Aug. 10 primary, and Buck who is facing off against establishment favorite and former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton on the same day, have a path to victory. (Buck's path is far cleared than Romanoff's.) Neither man has demonstrated much fundraising clout to date, however. To take advantage of the "outsider" sentiment in the electorate, both men need more than the $500,000 or so they had on hand at the end of April.

* Joe Sestak (D): Sestak's ouster of Sen. Arlen Specter in the May 18 Democratic primary proved that money isn't everything -- particularly in an intraparty squabble. But, in a state the size of Pennsylvania where communicating via television is no cheap trick, Sestak needs to have had a strong six weeks to close out the quarter since former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) has proven to be the surprise fundraising star on the Republican side of the aisle. (He had nearly $5 million on hand at the end of April.) What Sestak has going for him? He proved during his House races that he is a dogged fundraiser.

* Sharron Angle (R): Angle, a former state Assemblywoman, rode a wave of conservative discontent with the better funded candidates to victory in the June 8 primary. But, Angle's $132,000 on hand as of mid-May was dwarfed by the $9 million Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) showed in the bank at the same time. Angle will never catch Reid in the cash dash but national Republicans have spent the three weeks since her primary campaign trying to get her more ready for primetime. A solid chunk of money raised in an obviously abbreviated time frame would be a major step in the right direction for Angle.

2. Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill (I) is up with his first TV and radio ads in the gubernatorial race, an attempt to re-start a candidacy stunted in its infancy by a barrage of ads paid for the Republican Governors Association.

"The first commercial of the governor's race, Washington insiders attacked me while I was working for you," Cahill says in the new ad.

Cahill also seeks to differentiate himself from Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and businessman Charlie Baker (R); "one of my opponents fights for big government, the other a health care executive," says Cahill.

That strategy of differentiation continues in Cahill's radio ad. "The Democrat has a problem with big government and the Republican has a problem with the Big Dig," Cahill says.

Cahill spokesperson Amy Birmingham said that the new TV ad buy, which is in the "six figures" and will be on the air for close to two weeks "isn't exactly a response" to the RGA ad; rather it's a chance for Cahill to re-introduce himself to voters.

Birmingham acknowledged that "it's obvious" the RGA ads "were effective," noting that Cahill was in second place before the ads aired. But she discounted the accuracy of a recent Boston Globe poll showing that Cahill had slipped into a distant third with 9 percent to Patrick's 38 percent and Baker's 31 percent. Birmingham said that Cahill's internal polling shows him at 16 to 20 percent.

While he has slipped in the polls, Cahill's cash-on-hand makes him a force to be reckoned with: at the end of the first quarter, he had $3.4 million in his war chest, compared to $2.3 million for Baker and $1 million for Patrick.

3. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) is finding the corruption trial of former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer to be quite inconvenient for his Senate bid.

On Thursday, Crist -- and the rest of us -- learned that the trial would begin in October, just weeks before the November election. And the governor was also forced to comment on allegations that a state party retreat was men-only but did include women who were paid to be there.

State party executive committee member Beth Kigel had told investigators that she had heard about the trip to the Bahamas, where women connected to the state party weren't invited but where other women "were involved and paid." Crist called the idea "absurdly false" but couldn't say whether only men were invited on the trip.

"Crist says no hookers on Bahamas trip," blared the headline on the St. Petersburg Times blog.

Polling suggests Crist is likely to be a slight favorite over former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) when the open seat Senate race begins in earnest after Labor Day. (Democrats will pick between Rep. Kendrick Meek and billionaire businessman Jeff Greene on Aug. 24)

The timing of the Greer trial is less than ideal for Crist. Greer was the governor's handpicked party chairman and it's hard to imagine that this is the last time that Greer's time at the head of the organization will force Crist into an uncomfortable position.

4. Wealthy businessman Bill Binnie (R) is up with a new TV ad in the New Hampshire Senate primary touting his job-creating credentials.

"Bill Binnie has a plan to put America back to work," the narrator of the 30-second ad says, emphasizing Binnie's plans to reduce payroll taxes, cut spending and promote free trade.

Binnie announced yesterday that he raised more than $400,000 in the second quarter. That follows on a strong first quarter for Binnie, who had $1.8 million on hand as of late March. (Binnie has loaned his campaign $3 million).

He has used his personal spending to flood the airwaves with ads that paint him as an outsider to the political process, a potentially potent message in an electoral environment like this one.

Fellow businessman Jim Bender (R), who is also running for the Senate nomination but has been largely overshadowed by Binnie, estimated that he currently has $1.3 million cash on hand, having donated $1 million of his own money to the race last quarter.

The free-spending by Binnie and, to a lesser extent, Bender, complicate former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's path to the Republican nomination on Sept. 14.

But, polling shows Ayotte, the establishment favorite, maintaining her lead. She is focusing her rhetoric (and her ads) on Rep. Paul Hodes, the certain Democratic nominee. Hodes has been hitting Ayotte over a Ponzi scheme that took place during her tenure as the state's top cop.

5. If it's Friday, it's time for a double serving of Fix live chats!

First, at 10:30 a.m. we unveil the winner of the Fix's "Worst Week in Washington" in a live video chat. Log in. Ask questions. We'll answer.

Then stick around for our weekly "Live Fix" chat in which we spend an hour taking questions from Fixistas on any and every topic under the political sun.

What better way to ease into the holiday weekend then spending your day with the Fix? See you there.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 2, 2010; 7:24 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Marco Rubio's next act
Next: Ranking the most influential Republicans

Comments

Chris,

I think you've been overly harsh on Lee Fisher's lack of fundraising.

Of course, he needs to report strong numbers.

And knowing Lee, I think he will.

But, as you know too well, the primary blunted the revenue side and drained the expense side.

As I've written before, Portman's cash advantage is slightly deceiving.

He needs to spend a ton just to get known among/trusted by his own base. (His primary vote lagged Kasich's by 100,000.)

Also, I think Portman has a difficult needle to thread.

The national GOP, as well as the Ohio GOP, seems to be caving to the far right wing.

But Portman knows, I think, that he can't become the Tea Party darling and win.

Neither can he diss them entirely.

From the little I know of him, my guess is he's very uncomfortable with that crowd.

I'm sure he'd much rather run as a middle-of-the-road Republican.

Except his record blocks that. From both the left AND the right.

As Congressman, USTR and Budget Director under Bush 43, he was a key player in setting up/enforcing the policies that drove us into the ditch.

Because of support for Medicare Part D and TARP (before he was against it) he doesn't have strong street cred with the Republican right.

Chris, this will be a down-to-the-wire race.

You're going to be writing a lot more about it before it's over.

(When you get back from vacation...)

Oh...and latest poll had Fisher UP again...two points.


Posted by: kurtolandefeld | July 7, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Romanoff the consummate corporate DLC Democrat has buffaloed many into believing he is a "progressive". Those who have been paying attention know better. Bennet will likely have a long and successful career in the U S Senate.

Posted by: jbowen431 | July 2, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

". Rob Portman (R) will start to matter -- Portman is already on television -- in the coming weeks."

Yeah, but all he is saying is, Ohio lost 480,000 jobs and I have a plan. (Same plan as Binnie and much of the same commercial)

Since his plan is free trade, tax cuts, and more tax cuts, he has to run while ignoring deficits. Force him on deficits and he has to babble obout deficits don't matter because of his commitments to tax cuts. And Free Trade isn't all that popular in Ohio right now.

When we ambush him for his opinion on Sharron Angle's jobs perscription we can get him into a three way name calling match with him doing the name calling.

Rob is going to have to talk fast enough that NOBODY knows what he is saying to avoid cutting his own throat with his tongue.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 2, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Andy, it's a terrible report. Posted by: mark_in_austin":

Well, it isn't a great report. Still, on the usual business method of comparing against last years data for stores in existence for a while, it would certainly be good news, since last year was atrocious and the year before the world was in free fall.

It does show an increase in jobs, (net?) and if it is NET increase that means we also made up the first round of Census Worker jobs ending. While gradualism isn't what we might want for jobs creation, an increase is an increase.

AS things get better, like peoples opinion of the health care law, like stimulous results, like financial reform, the R's have to yell louder and sound even more out of touch. By September if the trends continue the R's will be screaming like the Jericho Trumpets on German dive bombers, and no body will be listening because it will just be more nothing.

And the delightful thing is the Republicans can't shift emphasis, because they have no fall back position. When they can't win on No No NO they can't shift message and hope.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 2, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Strange, that seems to be Portman's plan. Are the Republicans going to run the same ad everywhere, just changing the names in the voice over? This could get hilarious when some part of the script is glaringly at odds with the actual narrative of the candidate. Time for a video expert to check and see how much each Republican's ads correspond with every other Republican's ads.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 2, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

But for Crist, he made his sister his campaign manager. She has never managed a campaign, and is an elementary school principal. But if we have learned anything from ex State Senator Nancy Argenziano (with her Fla Ethics commission complaints)make a friend or relative your campaign manager and the money rolls back to you.
There are a lot of expenses that could be charged from the sister, and they both have a parent's family trust.
So you are asking the wrong question. The question is, he couldnt possibly SPEND all that campaign money in one election term....or could he?

Posted by: theloneconsumer | July 2, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

gosh are all crooks?????

Posted by: dbaker00711281944 | July 2, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Democrap Socialist Comrade Barack Obama.
While all the far left radical fag liberals (actually just a bunch of Communists)

==

good god o'mighty sounds like someone is overdue for a rubber room

Posted by: Noacoler | July 2, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

'Democrap Socialist '

oh look, the kindergarten dropout has returned.

Posted by: drindl | July 2, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The best fundraising card the Republicans have going for them anywhere is the totally incompetent Democrap Socialist Comrade Barack Obama.
While all the far left radical fag liberals (actually just a bunch of Communists) here on Fix are getting chills up their legs from the unemployment numbers dropping a tiny bit, the fact is that by the end of July when all the temporary Census workers get laid off, that unemployment number will probably be over 10%, if not more.

Posted by: armpeg | July 2, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Crist will get his money from Florida Democrats. I've already received email from former Democratic fundraisers who are now supporting Crist. I'm sure that almost any Democrat who has donated money to a statewide race in the last 8 years is getting similar solicitations.

Meek was the longshot out of the three before he picked up a wealthy primary opponent. If he hangs on to win the primary, he'll quickly become an also ran.

Posted by: dcartwright6 | July 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Obungler has faced up to losing the house

Dow down 700 points this year
15 million out of work
Afghanistan slipping away
spies arrested while obambi has burgers
spill in gulf flows on
finance reform as dead as Byrd

quick change the subject. Immigration. Obungler is throwing dems under the bus in hopes of his own reelection.

Posted by: Moonbat | July 2, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I didn't think it was possible, but even Sarah has some shrewdness at least, if not actual intelligence, but Angle is dumb as a box of rocks.

Posted by: drindl | July 2, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

good luck with that one. she will NEVER be ready for primetime -- she's an extremist nut. why would anyone give her money when it's clear she will lose?

==

She's also dumber'n Palin, which I didn't think was possible.

Posted by: Noacoler | July 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Crist the ex-RINO is no Republican. Crist bolted the party because he was going to lose the primary election.

==

Yeah and now he's going to win the genrtal election and caucus with the Democrats, and your Cubano tea bagman is going to lose his house.

By all means, keep purging those RINOs.

Posted by: Noacoler | July 2, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

'but national Republicans have spent the three weeks since her primary campaign trying to get her more ready for primetime.'

good luck with that one. she will NEVER be ready for primetime -- she's an extremist nut. why would anyone give her money when it's clear she will lose?

Posted by: drindl | July 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Turns out an associate of his may, or may not, have been on cruise where no wives were invited, but there were hookers. Seriously, the headline was worthy of the National Enquirer and...no, wait, the Enquirer has too much integrity to run a headline like that."


I agree. Who put the Post up to this low-life smear against Crist? Your pal Marco Rubio? Really? It's getting laughable how far the Post will go for the Repubiican Party. Right to the mat.

Posted by: drindl | July 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mark,
I read the report and it definilty isn't glowing, but I wouldn't say it is awful. As long as the unemployment rate keeps going down and the private sector keeps hiring than I am not going to panic. I also wonder if unemployment benefits continue to be blocked by the GOP on a continual basis, if workers will take underpaying jobs instead of waiting for something that will pay them more than unemployment. This may be what the GOP is hoping for all I know.

I also wonder if the turmoil in the Gulf effected the numbers in any way.

Posted by: AndyR3 | July 2, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse


Charlie Crist the ex-RINO is no Republican. Crist bolted the party because he was going to lose the primary election.

Posted by: screwjob16 | July 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Yeah guys by all means push the "is Crist gay?" thing. Now there's a winning strategy. Especially since Rubio gives off major bottom vibes.

And that's what voters care about. None if this boring policy stuff. Just turn that crank and churn out recycled Reagan for that stuff, and focus on the titter titter titter in the campaign.

Posted by: Noacoler | July 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Whoever wrote this headline on the home page about Crist was too cute by half. Given the rumors that have dogged him (none proven, of course) the obvious implication was that Crist had been discovered on some kind of gay cruise ship. Turns out an associate of his may, or may not, have been on cruise where no wives were invited, but there were hookers. Seriously, the headline was worthy of the National Enquirer and...no, wait, the Enquirer has too much integrity to run a headline like that.

Posted by: jhpurdy | July 2, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

There's an awful lot of Gay Republicans.

How do you guys reconcile this with your anti-Gay stance?

it's really weird.

Posted by: vigor | July 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse


"Men-only Bamahas beach party"?? Charlie, Charlie. Is there anything you need to tell us, Charlie? Hmm?

Posted by: screwjob16 | July 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What a let down. I thought this was some kind of gay cruise or something.

Posted by: cleancut77 | July 2, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

DUMP OBAMA! CLINTON IN 2012!!

Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

No budget this year?

Why Nancy?

Do your job.

Posted by: Moonbat | July 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Female hookers would be a better alibi for Crist than any other explanation.

Posted by: thebump | July 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

DUMP OBAMA! CLINTON IN 2012! IT'S THE ONLY WAY WE DEMOCRATS CAN RETAIN POWER!!

Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Bill Binnie has a plan to put America back to work," the narrator of the 30-second ad says, emphasizing Binnie's plans to reduce payroll taxes, cut spending and promote free trade."

That plan is so popular and so effective!
NOT. It's a stupid plan, but, yeah, Bill Binnie has a plan for sure.


Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 2, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Mark, we don't care about jobs, only deficits.

You so silly.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 2, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA INVOKES TESLA, INVENTOR BEHIND MICROWAVE TORTURE TOWERS -- CODED WARNING TO HOMELAND-RUN FUSION CENTERS?

• Indication that Obama knows that scalar wave microwave / radio frequnecy weapon technology is being used by federal-local multi-agency "fusion centers" to inflict silent torture and impairment on extrajudicially "targeted" citizens...

...and that he's using his executive powers to bring those responsible to justice?

• American University policy address referencing American immigrant inventor Nikola Tesla a harbinger of Apollo Project-like push to develop "scalar wave electromagnetics" as a source of cheap, inexhaustible energy?

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-invokes-tesla-inventor-behind-microwave-torture-towers OR
http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede articles and links therein)

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 2, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

CC,
"(Buck's path is far cleared than Romanoff's.)". Far cleared, really. The two little elves are not proofreading their homework.

#1-Angle won't raise more than 200K where as Reid will raise something like 2 million in the last quarter. Angle is going to get smoked and the GOP money folks know it.

#2-The biggest political news today is the June Jobs report. Here's to hoping that unemployment goes down for everyone's sake.

Posted by: AndyR3 | July 2, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

On the provincial side, we're watching the money race between Clark & Bachmann. Bachmann, of course, has an effective national fundraising machine. Can Clark tap into the national liberal distaste for Bachmann & keep up in the money race? Or is this just another lost cause for MN-6, spending good money after bad?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 2, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

M-I-A:

Do this mean what I think it do?

It do.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 2, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

#2: Will someone who knows explain how Cahill, an "I", has so much cash on hand?

#3: I believe someone the other day mentioned that between the Greer trial; Rubio's credit card usage/non payment of mortgages/and "late" tax return; and Meek's funny denials of play-for-pay, no FL candidate will gain ground. I suppose the poster bad boy Greene could gain from this, by standing still.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 2, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the list in #1.

However:

"And, if he didn't, the fundraising disparity between he and former Rep..."

iterates the egregious error. Repeat after me:
to him
at him
for him
over him
under him AND

between him.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 2, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

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