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Posted at 9:58 AM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Defeated Boucher had $700K left in the bank

By Ben Pershing
Ben Pershing

Updated 10:47 a.m.
Coaches often talk about how important it is to "leave it all on the field" at the end of the game, and campaign managers will say the same thing -- candidates in tough political races are expected to spend whatever cash they've got to secure a win. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) apparently decided not to follow that example.

According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Boucher, who lost to state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R), 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 2, had a significant amount of money left in the bank at the time of his defeat. As of Nov. 22, Boucher had $699,000 on hand, a remarkably large amount for a candidate who had been locked in a tight contest.

In fact, according to Greg Giroux of Bloomberg News, Boucher had the most cash left in the bank of any of the 54 congressional incumbents who lost last month.

Boucher was one of three Virginia Democrats to lose their congressional seats, but he was the only one who hoarded his cash rather than spending it. By comparison, Rep. Tom Perriello reported having $53,000 in cash as of Nov. 22, while Rep. Glenn Nye had $29,000 left over.

Unlike with Nye and Perriello, who were long seen as among the most endangered Democrats in the country, Boucher's loss came as something of a surprise to election observers in Virginia and Washington. But it shouldn't have been a complete surprise -- the last publicly released poll of the race showed Griffith narrowly ahead.

Could one more television buy or round of direct mail have made the difference for Boucher? Did he want to save some money to run for some other office in the future? Boucher's campaign had not responded to a request for comment as of this posting, so we don't know for sure. But we do know that he made the decision -- for whatever reason -- to leave a lot of cash in the bank, not on the field.

By Ben Pershing  | December 6, 2010; 9:58 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Glenn Nye, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Tom Perriello  
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There's also an old saying that one shouldn't throw good money after bad. With Perriello and Nye both losing as well as folks like John Spratt, Ike Skelton and Earl Pomeroy, it's unclear whether 700 thousand or even 7 million could've have stemmed a very strong tide.

What this amount does indicate is that Boucher would be a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate should Jim Webb decide to retire or for Governor.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | December 6, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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