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Monday, February 01, 2010

Can Justice Still Beat Young?

The recently posted FEC filings by Congressman Bill Young and Senator Charlie Justice don't paint a clear picture.

Neither candidate is doing proper fundraising.

Young "raised" only $750 - $250 from an electrical utility in Tallahassee and $500 from UPS (headquartered in Atlanta). He also got another $223.31 in interest from money in accounts in six different banks.

So why the air quotes around "raised?" Because Young clearly isn't raising money - that $750 just represents a couple of PACs on autopilot more or less randomly sending checks ("Hey - who was the Congressman in Florida who carried water for us that time? Let's send him a courtesy check.").

If Young were actually raising money, he would have just held a couple of cocktail parties at a lobbyist's house on Capitol Hill for 100 defense contractors and insurance lobbyists at $1000 a head and called it a quarter.

He's still dropping little hints that he will retire, but I've learned my lesson and will cease speculation.

He does have almost $400,000 cash on hand (COH) and could get someone to put those cocktail parties together in about a week, so if he decides to campaign.

Justice raised a viciously disappointing $48895.37 with less than a quarter million raised for the campaign and less than $100,000 COH.

Once again (he had the same problem last quarter), Justice's burn rate is inexcusable - this time he spent $10,000 more than he pulled in, eating into his reserves.

At this stage of the game, it is all about stockpiling the money for television down the road.

Justice has done a good job of raising smaller donations from the Tampa Bay area, an important way to build the grassroots and show strong, local support - but at some point (and that point was three months ago), his campaign needs to buckle and start raising serious cash. He only received donations from eight different unions and only a handful of other PACs - the institutional donors, in other words.

There probably needs to be some kind of shakeup.

Stopping paying $3500 a month for FEC compliance assistance - he's not raising enough money to need compliance help, besides which, he has NGP software, which should enable his finance director and treasurer to handle the compliance. If at any time, he starts raising $250,000+ a month, he can consider paying for help.

Any staff not directly raising needs to start making that his or her full time job. Maybe someone new needs to come on to get the finance operation in order and probably some kind of finance consultant.

Both candidates are well liked. The district favors Justice, but incumbentcy favors Young. Right now, neither candidate is approaching the fundraising with the seriousness. Young is the incumbent and can afford not to. He can drop $350,000 on cable in the district and another $50,000 to hit 25,000 households with twice with full color, glossy mail.

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