Saturday, May 10, 2008

10th District Update

In some ways, the situation in the 10th CD hasn't changed much in the last two years. The seat is still vulnerable, Rep. Bill Young still isn't acting like he wants it that much, and Democrats don't seem like they are going to put up much of a challenge this year.

It's also curious that each of the Democrats has had a tenuous relationship with the Democratic Party. Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth only recently changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, Samm Simpson threatened to change her registration to vote for Republican Ron Paul, and Max Linn ran for Governor as a Reform Party candidate two years and has also expressed his great affection for the ideas of Republican Ron Paul.

First, let's look at the money.

Bill Young:

Young raised $127,701 in the last quarter (January-March) and just under $375,000 for the cycle to date. He spent as much as he raised, but still has over half a million dollars on hand - mostly because the 2006 Democratic nominee, Samm Simpson, failed to provide much of a challenge, allowing him to stockpile money. $127k is not an impressive total.

One interesting note is that his FEC report says that contribution limits have been increased due to opponent's spending. Under normal circumstances, $2300 would be the limit. That is tripled if the so-called "millionaire's amendment" under McCain-Feingold is triggered. The "millionaire's amemdment" allows for increases in allowable receipts if an opponent spends $350,000 of personal money. I am not convinced that this threshold has been triggered and hope someone looks into the matter.

His biggest expenses were $65,000 for direct mail (probably for a combination of prepaying for persuasion mail and fundraising solicitations) and almost $20,000 spent at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel. Whatever else you may say, the man likes to relax in style. He also has a ton of disbursements to Bank of America for credit card purchases, though it doesn't say what that was spent on. I suspect that he is paying for a lot basic operating expenses, including salaries and maybe even polling and other consultants with his campaign credit card to avoid having to put the actual expenditures on his report.

Max Linn:

The only way Linn was going to win was by using some of his own money, which he has started to do. He loaned his campaign $110,000 and contributed another $58,000 of his own money (not enough, unless I'm misreading this, to trigger the "millionaire's amednment), but raised only a little more than $10,000 from other sources. He also spent close to $100,000. Part of that, no doubt went to his consultants, including Miami's Derek Newton and our own Liz McCallum.

There is no nice to say this, so let's just say it: these numbers suck.

Samm Simpson:

She raised $3854 and has $2020 cash on hand. This anemic total makes Max Linn like Chuck Schumer. You can talk all you want about Simpson's suppposed grassroots support, but if you can't turn that support into $100 and $200 checks, then you've confused grassroots support with your "friends" list on Facebook.

She can't win with these numbers. 'Nuff said.

Bob Hackworth:

He hasn't had to file yet, having only recently joined the race. I will be very curious to see what the Dunedin mayor can do in the money race.

What it all means:

It means that we are still waiting for a real contest. Hackworth might be able to make this race interesting, but he got in awfully late and Dunedin is not very close to the district's population center in the southern part of Pinellas County. Linn's got the ability to self-finance, but that appears to be his only advantage. Simpson, to be frank, is no longer a factor.

Unless Hackworth turns out to be an impressive fundraiser (raising at least $200k by the next filing) or Linn shows unexpected reserves of political talent, we are still waiting for the expect race that political watchers have been hoping for here.

In effect, we are waiting until a Rick Kriseman, Charlie Justice, or Karl Nurse jumps runs for this seat in 2010 or beyond - someone with a combination of local, political star power, fundraising prowess, and strong skills on the trail.


At 5/11/2008 09:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karl Nurse doesn't live in Young's District.

At 5/11/2008 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

Actually, a candidate just has to live in the state to run for any congressional district. He is very near the 10th and has been approached by the DCCC in the past about this seat.

At 5/11/2008 03:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a stretch, believe me.

At 5/11/2008 11:04:00 PM, Blogger tampabaydemocracy said...

For a guy who claims such authority vis a vis District 10, one would think you'd know that Young's direct mail expenses included his massive mailer to get on the ballot via petition. A first for him, and obviously a response to Simpson being the first AND second congressional candidate in the history of the county to get on the ballot that way. Young has obviously recognized the metaphoric power of getting placed on the ballot by the people instead of by dropping cash. But then, like a typical Washington insider, he spent more money getting petitions done than he would have spent just buying his way on as he's always done in the past, and like Linn and Hackworth have. Cost inefficient, and not in keeping with the spirit of an all volunteer operation getting signatures face to face. The perfect "Washington as usual" move.

BTW: pretty pretentious blog name. Can you share who you've been a campaign manager for, or are you just a "consultant"?

At 5/12/2008 08:40:00 AM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

I didn't realize it would be seen as so pretentious - campaign management is typically a poorly paid, underappreciated slog. I'm glad you have such a high opinion of the profession.

I have been both - manager and consultant (plus field director and communications director).

That said, I am grateful for the additional details on Young's spending.

Do you have any info on the basis for apparently claiming that the millionaire's amendment has been triggered?

At 5/12/2008 11:29:00 AM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

And I probably should clarify that Charlie Justice is (and has been since his senate victory) the 800 pound gorilla in the room, insofar as Democratic recruitment for the 10th is concerned.

At 6/02/2008 09:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samm Simpson was seen arriving and leaving lunch with Con. Bill Young last week at Iris's in Dunedin. I wonder what they could have been discussing? Possibly him helping her win the primary to keep credible candidates out of the general with him in November? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm........

At 6/02/2008 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

I used to love the onion strings they used to serve at Iris' back in the late 80s.

At 6/03/2008 06:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Samm Simpson was seen arriving and leaving lunch with Con. Bill Young last week at Iris's in Dunedin..."

I'm sorry; I thought this was a blog about political campaigns, not

This comment is too _Us Weekly_ by half. Save the gossip for the sewing circle. Perhaps they were discussing the U.S. Congress's retirement plan.

At 6/03/2008 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if they were discussing his retirement it's very doubtful that Samm would be the one to take his place. She's crazy for starters and could only garner 34% of the vote last time she ran, which was a change year. pretty horrible showing.

At 6/03/2008 03:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: "Samm's crazy"... Two ways to look at that. First, since when has sanity been a pre-requisite for public office? I'm fairly confident that the Bush neocons and their minions would score higher on the "sociopathic" scale than Samm. Second, is she "crazy" because she questions the motives and actions of her government? It seemed pretty crazy to me that we casually dumped Habeas Corpus -- a fundamental building block for western justice since the Magna Friggin Carta. And even Bob Graham admits that the 911 commission didn't have the time or the money to investigate the way they wanted to, and that the Bush administration stymied it at every turn. So long as we're dealing with the most secretive administration of my lifetime, I say we all had better get some skepticism cranking any time Bush and Co. open their mouths.

But regardless of how truely mean spirited your sanity comment was, you're just plain wrong in your assessment of 34% in a change year being a poor showing. That poor showing was the best effort ANY candidate had had against Young since 1994, and she did it as a total newcomer with no support from the Florida or national Democratic Party, and with only $41K. Young took her seriously enough to do at least 3 mailings: something he hadn't done for years. Her cost per vote was lower than his, I'd wager.

So what say we leave the personal attacks out of this discussion? Possibly show the same class that Samm has consistently shown in her campaign to refrain from snippish personal comments? If you must vent about her as a person, would you have the courage to say that to her face? I'd be happy to invite you to a meeting with her.

At 6/04/2008 08:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when is 3 mailings taking someone serious? He beat her more than 2 to 1. I highly doubt he lost sleep over someone of her caliber. I am relieved that being a conspiracy theorist is a noble thing these days. Get off your far left liberal side and show some common sense. The only chance she has of being in Congress is taking the tour. Hulk Hogan's kid has more of a chance of beating Young than she does. There is a reason the party didn't support her, and listen so I don't have to repeat myself, SHE HAS NO CHANCE OF BEATING ANYONE.

At 6/04/2008 09:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three mailings is taking someone more seriously than anyone who had the courage and determination to stand up and run in the previous 12 years.

And since you seem to only be able to communicate in condescending tones, I'll return the favor: LEARN TO DO MATH. If she got 34% of the vote he didn't beat her more than 2 to 1. I question the intellectual voracity of anyone trying to assess the complexities of a congressional race when they fail at employing 4th grade math skills competently.

But personal attacks aside...

RE: "conspiracy theorist"... Is that what you call Bob Graham for questioning the 911 commission report? Just in case you don't know, he was one of the leaders on the committee that investigated.

But be that as it may, this "conspiracy theorist" as you call her was right about what was happening with the war, the economy, the forces keeping us dependent upon oil, the stripping of our civil liberties, and the neocon's executive branch power grab in 2006, and she's right now.

And re: your "liberal side" comment, I'm a born and raised Eisenhower Republican who saw the party slip so far towards facism that the party left me. The same drift that would make Barry Goldwater -- the father of the modern conservative movement -- left of center in today's world. (Don't trust me, those are lifelong conservative John Dean's words). And this is exactly why we see life long Republicans like Linn and Hackworth changing parties to run for the seat. It's happening in districts all over the country, and Republican incumbents are choosing not to run. They see the massive change coming.

I like Samm's chances. But you know, what I think and what you think don't mean dink. It's what about 250K voters in Pinellas County think in November that counts.

Since you seem to be a Bill Young supporter -- or at the very least a Republican -- what say you share some of the wonderful reasons why folks should keep a man in office for longer than any of the founding fathers could have dreamed of? (And purposefully put checks and balances into the system to discourage.)

At 6/04/2008 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

Let me be brutally honest - with only five months left before the general election, "serious" means having at least $100,000 cash on hand.

At 6/04/2008 03:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is some real math:
2006- Young- 131,301 or 66%
Simpson-67,285 or 34%
Looks like 2 to 1 to me or maybe I'm just dreaming that too. And your hero Samm also is a Ron Paul supporter, some "real" democrat, she was also a republican a few years ago as well. Here's some more math for you, CD 10 in Pinellas County has over 450,000 voters in it.
As far as the other two changing parties I'm glad they did, maybe now we will get a credible candidate that can actually defeat Young instead of being a sacrificial lamb like Samm. Oh, maybe you should ask her what the private lunch was about before you fall on a knife for lamd, Samm.
Also more like $150-175K would be a serious competitor.

At 6/05/2008 01:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You aren't dreaming. You're just not grasping that 66% is not "more than 2 to 1" in comparison to 34%. In order for Young to have a "more than 2 to 1" advantage, he would have had to have take 67%.

Re: Ron Paul. She supports truth tellers, regardless of party, and has the wisdom to realize that if you're going to get anywhere in Washington you're going to have to be able to build issue based coalitions with members of both parties. Since Paul is actually a Libertarian running as a Republican, it makes total sense. Libertarians and progressive Dems share many of the same views. No wars of imperialism. The government has no right to read your private correspondence in the name of the War On Terror. The constitution matters. No bid contracts are anything but "conservative". Always question your government.

Even Dennis Kucinich recognized that he and Dr. Paul are on the same side on several issues. Are you saying that Kucinich isn't a real Democrat?

And BTW, regardless of what you've seen on the internet -- a clip that she admits was taken in a moment of inspiration after seeing Paul speak in St. Petersburg, and has written extensively about on her website -- she voted for a Democratic candidate in the primary, which Hackworth wouldn't have been able to do. (I'm thinking the same about Linn, but he actually may have changed his affiliation from Reform Party to Dem by that point.)

RE: Young lunch... I know exactly what the private lunch with Mr. Young was about, and I'm sure she'd be willing to discuss it with you if you had the courage to face her. Hint: it was not unlike the meeting I and other members of the progressive community had with him. He's a savvy politician who wants to have a clear view of the political landscape.

Re: stats about the district. You finally got your math right. Yep, there are 450K voters plus in the district. That's why I referenced about 250K voters. That's how many it will take to win the district in the general.

The same district that Gore won in 2000. Consider him a "conspiracy theorist" as well due to his calls for impeachment and an appollo program to limit man's effect on global warming? And the same district where Repubs once again outperformed Dems in 2006, but in 2008 they have this guy named Obama who seems to be pretty adept at exciting folks to get off their lazy asses and vote.

Re: over $100K raised... Money is not the only factor that makes a "serious competitior". Platform, candidate intensity and ability to connect with average voters, grassroots organization, and the political climate of the day does, as well. And in a climate of change, Samm offers the voter the kind of change they're clamouring for. A true citizen patriot, not a resume-conscious opportunist, another millionaire posterboy, or a career politician who has been one of the most powerful folks in congress as our country hit the crapper.

Anyone else here care to chime in? Or do we only have 3 people reading this thread?

At 6/06/2008 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

The 250,000 number is key (though that sounds a little high - remember, there will be some drop off between the presidential vote numbers and downballot races).

It is not cheap to contact a quarter of a million people. No matter how good you are on the trail, no matter how good your message, it doesn't matter if no one sees you and that take money.

Earned media will only get you so far (how many times did you see congressional challengers on TV in 2006? not many).

Direct mail, television spots and (a plug for my profession) professional campaign staff cost money.

At 6/08/2008 08:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There may be only three people writing, but I assure you there are more than three people reading your amusing and generally lucid rants. Can't say that I see a Dem you named as a likely 2010 candidate with any proven fundraising prowess. Also a bit of a stretch to describe them having much star power. But for 2008, there is nothing suggesting that money is no longer king. Max and his ego may cough it up, Simpson simply won't have it, and Hackworth is the wild card. My bet is he won't raise it. Few local Dems seem to be right now. And being a former Republican has got to make it harder for him. And right you are, TCM, media costs money. But that's my humble opinion. You guys are obviously the pros.


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