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Udall Disappoints

Regular Fix readers know that we have been high on Democrats' chances of taking over the seat being vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.). It's been the number one ranked race on our Friday Senate Line all year thanks to Democrats clearing the field for Rep. Mark Udall and Republicans' inability to find a top-tier candidate of their own.

So, when we went searching for Udall's first quarter financial filing with the Federal Election Commission we expected to see a huge fundraising total. After all, it's been clear for several years that Udall was running for the Senate. And, with a clear shot at the Democratic nomination and a GOP field in turmoil, a big fundraising quarter would have given any Republican considering the race pause.

Udall clearly didn't see it that way. He raised $335,000 in the quarter. He retained a strong cash-on-hand balance of $1.5 million, but the vast majority of that cash was raised (and saved) prior to the first three months of 2007.

Alan Salazar, Udall's chief of staff, acknowledged the campaign got a "late start" raising cash. But he noted there were several mitigating factors at work including: a new Democratic governor and Congressman who both had campaign debts to retire and an aggressive fundraising effort already underway for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

"When he kicks into gear, he kicks into gear," Salazar said of Udall.

Regardless of the reasons, Udall's financial showing doesn't match up well with other House members considered likely Senate candidates. Compare Udall's performance with that of Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) who collected $623,000 for a Senate race that doesn't even exist yet. (Davis would only run for the Senate if Republican Sen. John Warner decided not to run for re-election next November.) Udall was even outraised by Maine Rep. Tom Allen (D) who was hamstrung not only by his state's small size (and relatively small donor base) but also by rumors -- now quashed -- that he might not ultimately run against Sen. Susan Collins in 2008.

It's important to keep Udall's first quarter performance in perspective. It will not likely impact his long-term chances at winning the seat. Colorado is a major priority of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and national Democrats will make sure Udall has all the money he needs to be competitive.

Rather, it's a missed opportunity. If Udall had posted $600,000 or more raised (and nearly $2 million in the bank), it might have kept a candidate like former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-Colo.) out of the race entirely. Schaffer is seen as the most likely serious Republican to make the race, but he struggled to remain financially competitive with beer magnate Pete Coors in the 2004 GOP Senate primary. Could a huge quarter by Udall have kept Schaffer out of the race? It's impossible to know, but it certainly would have made the former Congressman think long and hard about what he was getting himself into.

While Udall's numbers stood out to us among the candidates either running or considering bids for the Senate, there were other fundraising totals worth mentioning.

* Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) really doesn't like raising money. He brought in just $25,000 in the first three months of the year and has $106,000 on hand. No wonder he keeps telling the Oregon press that the biggest hurdle for him to take on Sen. Gordon Smith (R) is the cost of the race.

*Republican A-list recruits in Montana and Louisiana showed no sign they are revving up for Senate bids. Rep. Denny Rehberg (Mont.), who Republicans believe may be the only candidate who can defeat Sen. Max Baucus (D), raised just $82,000 and ended the period with $300,000 in the bank. Baucus, by contrast, raised $1.1 million in the quarter with nearly $2.9 million on hand. In Louisiana, Rep. Richard Baker (R) collected $113,000 but ended the quarter with a meager $66,000 in the bank. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) raised more than $1 million in the same time period and carried $1.9 million in her campaign warchest.

*As mentioned above, Tom Davis continues to impress with his fundraising prowess. Davis has made no secret that if Warner steps aside, he will be in the race. Warner's paltry $500 raised in the quarter has done nothing to quiet speculation that he is preparing to end his political career. If that comes to pass, Davis will need every dime he can collect to fend off a likely Republican primary challenge from the ideological right and then the prospect of popular former Gov. Mark Warner (D) in the general.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 18, 2007; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Romney's Odd Historical Reference


Why don't you add to the debate at hand instead of judging and putting others down?
I am ignorant coward and all I do is judge and put down. I have nothing else to offer.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

oh, I forgot:

"nucLEar," not "nuCULar."

Posted by: grammar | April 19, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Liten up grammar its just a blog! Why don't you add to the debate at hand instead of judging and putting others down?

Posted by: mountain man | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The Udalls have a political legacy. Their are more members of the Udall clan in Congress and in state politics than any other political family. Their deep pockets might be needed in the future, but I think most Coloradans would be upset by a large fundraising total as it assumes the candidate is "Going Washington"

Udall has enough in the bank that he doesn't have to worry too much and the contacts to know that he can raise the money if needed. This way, like Obama's refusal of taking federal lobbyist dollars he gets to have his cake and eat it too. All the money he needs, while being able to decry those who spend their lives fundraising for special interests.

Next November, vote for the Udall nearest you

Posted by: I miss those mountains | April 19, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

OK, grammar time:

"you're" = "you are"
"your" = "belongs to you"
"Republican's" = "belongs to a Republican"
"Republicans" = "more than one Republican"
"where" = "what location"
"were" = past tense (pl) of the verb "to be"
"we're" = "we are"

It's really not that hard.

Posted by: grammar | April 19, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mike Bagget Udall is running for Senate in Colorado not Wyoming. When Salazar ran in 04 he raised and spent over $10 million. Salazar was very much more in line with CO then Udall is, and rates have gone up, so if anything Udall will have to raise more then $10 million and he is def not on pace for that.

Posted by: mountain man | April 19, 2007 12:57 AM | Report abuse

I get especially excited when commercials for feminine itching products come on! Ooooooo....

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 19, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey, "reason" -

Tell me - are al Republicen's bad spelers? or is it just Republikins frum Colorodo?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Schaffer or Suthers could propably beat Udall in the senate race. Especially b/c Udall is too liberal for Colo. and it will be even tougher for him to distance himself when the Dem. Ntl. convention will be held in Denver. In 2004, Salazar was a great pro family/pro gun candidate against a man who made his money by getting people drunk. Coor's was really a bad candidate for the state of Colorodo. Schaffer would have made a much better candidate. Suthers would also make a great candidate, but then Ritter would get to appoint the AG if Suthers won the race. Either way, I think Suthers or Schaffer will win this race.

Posted by: reason | April 18, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

The only one who could plausibly save the Colorado seat for the GOP is John Suthers. In Virginia if Mark Warner runs he would defeat Davis easily in an open seat race. As for Oregon, while DeFazio is a great candidate on paper I don't think his heart would be in it. Blumenauer would make a great Senator for Oregon, his only major weakness is that he might come off as too Portland for rural voters, unlike DeFazio, but he could overcome it and defeat Smith. Westlund would be good too, he could have good appeal to moderates.

Posted by: Rex G. | April 18, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The only one who could plausibly save the Colorado seat for the GOP is John Suthers. In Virginia if Mark Warner runs he would defeat Davis easily in an open seat race. As for Oregon, while DeFazio is a great candidate on paper I don't think his heart would be in it. Blumenauer would make a great Senator for Oregon, his only major weakness is that he might come off as too Portland for rural voters, unlike DeFazio, but he could overcome it and defeat Smith. Westlund would be good too, he could have good appeal to moderates.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that Mr. Udall may not need to raise as much money to finance a senate campaign as, say, Mr. Davis? I would think that it might cost considerably less to run for state-wide office in Wyoming versus Virginia (or just about any other state, for that matter). I also assume that media buys are probably not as expensive since a Wyoming candidate doesn't have to work the DC area (by itself, covering a larger population than the entire state of Wyoming). Just a thought.

Posted by: Mike Baggett | April 18, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Democrats appear to be standing on firm political ground, as they work toward a final bill. A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,141 adults, conducted April 12-15, found that 58 percent trusted the Democrats in Congress to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq, compared with 33 percent who trusted Bush.

The president has taken advantage of Congress's spring recess to pound Democrats over their legislation, which would impose benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet; create strict rules for resting, equipping and training combat troops; and set a 2008 date for the final withdrawal of U.S. troops. Despite those efforts, Bush has lost a little ground to Democrats, who in February were trusted by 54 percent to set Iraq policy.

It's kind of like the famous "Far Side" cartoon I've posted above -- the Shrub-in-Chief goes around shouting, "Democrats are traitors because they want to override my presidential powers and help the terrorists by bringing our troops home from Iraq!"

But all the folks at home hear is "Democrats... want to... bring our troops home from Iraq!"

And they think to themselves, hey, that sounds like a pretty good idea to us.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse


Why does any of this Udall stuff surprise you? Or, a better question, why do you think the Colorado GOP is in such disarray?

Bob Schaffer is running, he's got plenty of support, and he's going to beat the liberal Udall in this red state. Don't worry about us, thank you very much.

You Beltway folks see Colorado and assume that since we've elected a few centrist
Democrats that we must have moved waaaay left and are ready to vote in a Boulder liberal to statewide office. But we're still a conservative state and unless the Dems find somebody a little more palatable it's gonna be Schaffer's race.

Posted by: Chris | April 18, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

The headline had me worried. Glad to read it's only about money and probably not a big deal. Maybe Chris is just being realistic, but the Fix sure places a lot of emphasis on the money aspect.

Posted by: newageblues | April 18, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry zouk -- it's Rudy that wants the government to pay for abortions, dear -- look it up.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

'How can anyone defend such a deplorable practice as intact dilation and extraction? '

Ill tell you. I worked with a young woman who had a healthy boy, 2 years old wit her husband. They found they were pregnant again, with a girl, and were thrilled. Because she was only 32, she did not have amnio. At nearly 6 months, they discovered the fetus had a triple chrosome defect.

It was ancephleptic, meaning it had no higher brain whatsoever. No function. Would never open its eyes, couldn't swallow and so feed itself, nor feel nor think. IN addition, its spine was incomplete and it was missing a kidney. It could not survive a natural birth, and would live only a few minutes without a breathing tube... and could have damaged the mother so she could not have another child.

What would you have done? The point is, when the government starts making private medical decisions for you, the whole concept of 'freedom' becomes a joke, because the state owns your body.

Posted by: Sandra | April 18, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

That's Speaker Pelosi to you Zouk!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Hillary - you mean you want me to come up with a position that will please the left and not offend the center. Let me talk to bill first.

Obama - in my administration, the department of hope will eliminate all abortions

Edwards - the people need abortions and the powerful keep them from happening. I will forego haircuts until this is solved.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

In more interesting news,
Republican presidential candidates were unanimous Wednesday in their praise for the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Democratic candidates uniformly deplored the 5-4 ruling in which the court said the 2003 ban does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

How can anyone defend such a deplorable practice as intact dilation and extraction? Late term fetuses can feel pain and can cry too. Why don't dems care about them?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 18, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure one obssessed ignorant loony coward. I spend my entire day listening to rosie, eating cheetos, and typing? I giggle and mast*rbate while I type? and I am really good at cutting and pasting, although not with the sharp sissers.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Part of the reason Dems have been winning in Colorado is because they have been unchallenged for the nomination. Certainly any party is helped by avoiding a distracting primary. Another reason they've been winning is because they are moderates. But it seems that Udall is pretty liberal. I just wonder if he will be hurt by this. Udall, since he's unopposed for the nomination, might also become too complacent during the primary, which may make him get lazy about raising $, and cause him to lose. Attorney General John Suthers may also run, and may be a stronger opponent to Udall than Schaffer. In Oregon, DeFazio, even if he does run, may prove weak and lose the primary. In 2006, before Gov. Romney even decided not to run for reelection, then-AG Tom Reilly was considered the Democratic nominee. He ended up running a poor campaign and losing the primary. I think the same thing could happen to DeFazio if he doesn't have the fire in his belly to do it. The Dems would be in a better position if Rep. Earl Blumenauer or St. Sen. Ben Westlund runs. Blumenauer could expect strong support from his district, which includes Portland, which would give him a very formidable stronghold to add to. Westlund might be able to provide more appeal to moderates and independents (though Im unaware of his views, I know he had formerly been a Republican and and independent for a little bit). Rep. Tom Davis would be a strong GOP candidate in Virginia. However, he may face primary opposition from fmr. Sen. George Allen and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. If Warner (MARK NOT JOHN) runs for the Senate in '08, he will likely crush any of them. However, I think he may be more interested in regaining the Governorship in '09. Gov. Tim Kaine and St. Sen. Creigh Deeds could run, and would be strong candidates (Kaine would be the Dems #2 choice). If Davis gets the Senate nomination but loses to Marky Mark, then it looks like AG Bob McDonnell would be bumped off as the '09 GOP Gubernatorial frontrunner. In LA, Im doubtful about whether Baker's Senate campaign will materialize. St. Treasurer John Kennedy is mentioned as a challenger to Landrieu, but would switch to the GOP, and if he's conservative enough he would seem viable. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne may also run. I think the fundraising of NJ Reps. Rush Holt, Frank Pallone, and Rob Andrews would provide an interesting clue as to whether any of them plan to challenge Sen. Frank Lautenberg for the Dem's nod.

Posted by: J Perez | April 18, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

'We feel so strongly we have nothing to say or do. '

You're sure one obssessed loony, koz. do you spend your entire day listening to rush, eating cheetos, and typing? Do you giggle and mast*rbate while you type?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I am otherwise pre-occupied, what with my new role as secretary of state and commander in chief. After I finish surrenduring to Iran, I will think about some domestic policies.

Posted by: General Pelosi | April 18, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Pacman, Franken and Ciresi have an agreement to accept the recomendation of the party nomination so it shouldn't get too bloody.

Posted by: Andy R | April 18, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

We feel so strongly we have nothing to say or do. Why would we have any idea what to do, we are Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took no position on two of the hottest social issues in America today -- guns and abortion -- in a week when those subjects were brought before the public in quite compelling ways.

Asked about this morning's historic and unprecedented decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a state ban on an abortion procedure, Pelosi -- longtime backer of abortion rights -- said, "This is an issue I need to review." Reid immediately changed the subject to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. "That's what it brings to my mind," Reid said.

Two days after the slaughter of 32 innocents on the campus of Virginia Tech by a shooter with two handguns, Pelosi demurred on whether Congress was in any mood to examine gun control laws.

"The mood in Congress is one of mourning, sadness and the inadequacy of our words" to help the bereaved, Pelosi said.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Let me be the first to point out what a complete fool I am.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I kind of like Ciresi's resources v. Franken's in Minn. Franken may have name recognition, but his image is a double-edged sword. Many may regard him only as a comic, not a serious candidate.

The big problem may be that the two Democratic candidates tear each other up in the primary while Sen. Coleman builds his war chest. I still think he's vulnerable, but a bloody Democratic primary may help him.

Posted by: pacman | April 18, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

In other senate news, Mike Ciresi announced today in his hopeless bid to win the DFL (Democratic) nomination to run against Senator Norm Coleman (R) for Paul Wellstone's Senate seat.

Posted by: bsimon | April 18, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Money isn't everything, you know. No Democrat in any competitive US Senate race will be lacking for moolah, considering how much America hates the America-hating, pro-Osama GOP.

Posted by: Parakeeta | April 18, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

John Warner will retire this cycle and Davis and Mark Warner know it. I bet J Warner asked them to keep it quiet so he didn't end up a lame duck for two years with the other senator being a Freshman.

Also I agree with Barbara that Udall will have as much money as he needs when the time comes. Since nobody has jumped in the race on the GOP side he is still doing just fine.

Posted by: Andy R | April 18, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

'Let me be the first to say something pointless.'

you always ar,e zouk -- but nobody listens.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Mark Udall is my congressman and the fact that he is not out shaking down people for money yet makes me want to vote for him for Senator even more. Also as somewhat noted in your article, during his last election when he really had no competion, instead of hording money for himself, he urged people to use their money to help candidates in tight races, rather than give to his campaign. I would hope that these folks would be out helping him raise money when he really needs it.
One last note, Udall has stepped aside before in running for other offices to keep harmony in the Democratic party. Yet another reason I would expect huge support for him from his fellow party members.

Posted by: Barbara Pickett | April 18, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Let me be the first to say something pointless.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse


Is there only one way to play the money game? Might not a quiet quarter on Mr Udall's behalf encourage any and all Republicans considering a run for the Senate seat to enter the fray, thereby dissipating some of their energy and focus. Of course I realize that this approach might be too clever by half, but KR has made a career of getting the other guys to fall into tiger-traps he has constructed. And as your article said, the Dems would like to avoid giver-fatigue at the moment, certainly a wise move.


Posted by: Roofelstoon | April 18, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll agree that this tepid performance raises an eyebrow. However, it's worth noting that he has a deep well of name recognition and good will stemming from the family name.

And, as you noted, the GOP side on this race is in disarray. I'll hold my powder till the next quarter's in. If this continues, the Dems may be blowing what could be their best shot at a pick-up. It remains to be seen if the GOP will right its ship, but you can bank (excuse pun please) on them having a well-financed campaign given the stakes.

New on EWM, well you won't believe it.
Gonzo Goes Whacko: Will Plead "Insanity" at Senate Hearing.
..."If you'll excuse the pun, he's been working like a fool on this act," said our source. "This morning he climbed the statue of Lady Justice and when visitors entered the building he'd pull back the curtain John Ashcroft had installed to cover her breast and scream 'now show me yours.'"...

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | April 18, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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