NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Funding the race, part I

I must admit that campaign financing is probably the subject I know the least about. I have become friends with the FEC website, spending more time with it than my bed. I have been pouring over Barbaro's donor list (the Democratic nominee in '04) and opensecrets.org financial listings (for cash on hand estimates) in an effort to get a better understanding of what it will take financial to wrestle this seat away from the Republicans. Policy differences aside, I am just talking about cash. Cash to buy ads, pay for staffing, buy literature, databases and plan and simply cash needed to raise more cash. With no money we can win 30%. With $500,000 we won 41%.

In 2004 Frank Barbaro raised $425,000 to take on Rep. Fossella and his $1.2 million warchest. This will not be a competitive race unless the Democratic nominee can raise $500,000 and that will just get us back to the 41% Barbaro won. Barbaro, a former long shoreman pulled in $187,000 from unions. This is probably not something any candidate will be able to repeat this election. As Stephen Harrison noted in our previous interview, this seat is winnable if it gets funding. Rep. Fossella has just recently surpassed $600,000 for his re-election, an will easily top $1.2 million as he has done in two of the last three elections. Where is the money going to come from to put this seat in play?

In New York this November we have Gubernatorial and Senate elections atop the ticket. It appears there is not going to be a competitive race for Governor as Elliot Spitzer's numbers continue to climb and the Republican and Conservative parties continue to clash over whom they will nominate. Sen. Clinton looks like she is cruising as if this where an off election year and her warchest has already topped $18 million. Sen. Schumer was re-elected in 2004. The attorney general race probably will be won by the winner of the Democratic primary. This leaves congressional races as the front for our battles. As you will see below, outside of NY-13, the next closest election last time around was Rep. Weiner winning with 70%. Clearly there will be more competitive race than this one. That leaves NY-13 as the only New York City centric race for our elected candidates and donors to get behind. As opposed to 2004 however, this time they need to actually support our nominee.

Orange districts note members of Congress who donated to Barbaro’s campaign.
The 13th district is the only Republican held congressional seat in New York City.

There are 20 Democratic members of Congress from New York state, of those 12 are in New York City. In 2004 8 of the 20 donated to Barbaro’s campaign, 6 from New York City. One item of note is that the Bush v. Kerry race topped the ballot and may have pulled money away from Barbaro. Of those twenty only two, Higgins NY-20 and Bishop NY-01 faced a competitive race winning with 51% and 56% respectively and had a dire need to keep their funds and fundraising efforts within their own district. No other members were re-relected with less than 63%. Excluding Higgins and Bishop, the 18 other members of Congress have a combined $7.21 million cash-on-hand. Here is a list of members in decreasing order starting with the highest margin of victory in their last election, followed by COH and donations to Barbaro:

100%, NY-06 Gregory W. Meeks; COH $145,948
donated: $1000 during general election

94%, NY-16 Jose E. Serrano; $72,912
donated: NO

93%, NY 10 - Edolphus Towns; $208,275
donated: NO

89%, NY–15 Charles B. Rangel; $455,245
donated: $2,000 during primary, $5,000 during general election

85%, NY-12 Nydia M. Velazquez; $325,789
donated: $1,000 during general election

81%, NY-14 Carolyn B. Maloney; $645,906
donated: $500 during the primary

80%, NY-07 Joseph Crowley; $546,117
donated: NO

80%, NY-08 Jerrold Nadler; $752,846
donated: $1000 during general election

75%, NY-17 Eliot L. Engel; $131,117
donated: NO

72%, NY-28 Louise M. Slaughter; $378,111
donated: NO

71%, NY-05 Gary Ackerman; $834,277
donated: NO

70%, NY-09 Anthony D. Weiner; $527,840
donated: NO

70%, NY-18 Nita M. Lowey;$877,852
donated: NO

70%, NY-21 Michael R. McNulty; $303,288
donated: $1,000 during general election

67%, NY-22 Maurice Hinchey; $125,491
donated: $1,000 during general election

66%, NY-02 Steve Israel; $807,710
donated: NO

63%, NY –04 Carolyn McCarthy; $521,365
donated: NO

56%, NY-01 Timothy H. Bishop; $449,355
donated: NO

51%, NY-27 Brian M. Higgins; $529,683
donated: NO

retiring, NY-11 Major R. Owens; $4,880
donated: $250 during general election

In 2004 they gave a combined $12,750. $7,000 of that coming from Rep. Rangel's PAC. If those 18 non-competitive seats put in $2,1000 during both the primary and general election, we will have $75,600. If our Democratic caucus is seriously about winning a majority in the House, and having Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Conyers chairing the Judicial committee and authorizing subpoenas then they need to realize this race is not bound by the borders of the 13th congressional district. Our elected officials need not be scared of that fifth borough that you need to take a ferry to get to. Additionally a Democratic majority in the House means:

Rep. Rangel of NYC chairing the Ways and Means Committee
Rep. Nadler of NYC chairing the Constitution Subcommittee

Looking back at that list of members of congress, scroll down that list of names until you get to the 70% group. Atop that you will see Rep. Anthony Weiner. In 2005 Rep. Weiner ran for mayor of New York City, a race that culminated with him as the runner-up in the primary to Freddy Ferrar (who lost to Bloomberg). Rep. Weiner's unexpected results have vaulted him in most circles to the top of the list for 2009 to be the Democratic nominee when Bloomberg steps down. This should set up a Democratic primary between him and Comptroller William Thompson. I find this curious, because if Rep. Weiner believes that New York City needs Democratic leadership at the mayoral level, why does he not support taking out the only Republican congressional representative the city has? If he expects to be taken serious as a candidate for any other city wide office, he can show us a sign of good faith by financially supporting our nominee.

Orange districts note State Senators who donated to Barbaro’s campaign.
Red districts are Republican held (only 4).

As if following the lead of their older sibling in Congress only the outgoing State Senator Seymour Lachman (seat currently held by Diane Savino) gave to Barbaro’s campaign, $2000 during the primary. There is nothing to say short of this was a horrible showing by our elected officials on this level. If we expect to not only replace Rep. Fossella but also replace some state level Republicans the NY State Democratic Party really needs to instill some discipline in these state senators. New York City is represented by 22 Democratic State Senators. 22 NY State Senate members giving a total of $2,100, the maximum individual contribution they can give for both the primary and general election would total $46,200. If you want to get optimistic we really should be talking about everyone maxing out their primary and general election contributions ($4,200 total per person).

Orange districts note State Assembly members who donated to Barbaro’s campaign.
Red districts are Republican held (only 2).

Next verse same as the first. In 2004 the following Assembly members gave to Barbaro’s campaign:
Assem Lentol (AD50) – $300p
Assem John (AD131)– $500p (non NYC)
Assem Cusick (AD63) – $250g
Assem Brennan (AD44) – $150g
Assem Farrel (AD71) – $1,000g
Assem Gotfried (AD75)– $250g
Assem Lavelle (AD71) – $500g
Assem Nolan (AD37) – $100p

Total: $3,150

There are 63 Democratic Assembly members in NYC, and should they all again give a total of $2,100, the maximum individual contribution they can give for both the primary and general election would total $132,300.

The majority of our elected officials at all levels in New York City are basically in seats that will only become competitive in a Democratic primary when there is a vacancy to take on a higher office. There is a bit of an oddity in this cycle because Rep. Towns (NY-10) is seeing some primary challenges partially in part to his pro-CAFTA vote. Asking any of them to part ways with their money should not have any negative impact on future elections. Here I will offer some leway. If for what ever reason each of these people can not personally meet a financial commitment to flipping this seat, then let's have them pledge to bring in the same amount through their connections and soliciting their regular donors. Secondly and maybe as a nice segue to the last point, there is no reason why our Representatives are not each hosting fundraisers every cycle for this seat. What good is sitting on half a million dollars, when right here today, we have a chance of returning a Democratic majority to Congress at arguably the most urgent time in modern history of our government.

In 2004 New York members of congress, state senators and assembly members combined for a total of $17,900 in donations to Barbaro's campaign.

In 2006 we can reach $254,000 simply as outlined above. When we take back this seat certainly we are going to see a large improvement in collaboration with our elected officials and party in the city.

next: Funding the race, part II; party discipline

FEC disclosures for Friends of Frank Barbaro
Campaign contribution limits

I came across some new numbers that may be direct donations to Barbaro and not via Friends of Barbaro that show Rep. Weiner making a $1,000 donation. It also shows Rep. Owens giving $500 as opposed to the $250 I had listed.


At 12:08 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said...

Ed Towns is going to be facing a strong primary challenge from Charles Barron and possibly Victor Green. I know WFP and unions are trying to recruit a primary challenger to Meeks as well--I don't know if they have yet succeeded.

Apart from that, the money deficit is the biggest reason it's a disappointment Bill de Blasio declined to run. He would have raked it in. Harrison, I fear, is just a sacrificial lamb.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Politicalconsultant said...

We've only been eligible to raise money for a couple of weeks and the potential de Blasio candidacy hurt our short term fund raising ability.

But to de Blasio's credit, he's endorsed Steve and has volunteered to raise money for our campaign. We're very happy to have him onboard.

Without raising much money, we'll do at least as well (or as poorly) as Barbaro did. If we raise what he did, we'll be much more competitive than his invisible campaign was, perhaps winning, and we will win if we raise considerably more.

Luisi's mismanaged borough president campaign (His paid consultants told him to ignore many of the strategies I'm implementing for Steve's campaign) still managed to achieve about the same percentage of the vote as Barbaro did without the benefit of the Brooklyn vote, so we'll start off with at least that much support.

I didn't get one mailing from Barbaro nor I did I see any commercials. He received very little non Advance and Brooklyn weekly paper media coverage, which meant if you didn't read the Staten Island daily or the Brooklyn neighborhood papers, you didn't know Barbaro was running until Election Day. Someone told me he didn't even have a web site (while our internet strategy includes search engine and viral marketing).

We will be much more visible.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger me said...

politicalconsultant, Barbaro's campaign most definitely had a website, you can see it linked from an NDM article here:

I suggest you focus on criticizing the guy with the (R) next to his name and not former dem candidates.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger NYDem said...

Barbaro had a great website, and was quite visible. You do not start with 41% against Vito! Luisi garnred that due to many peoples hatred of very un polished Jim Molinaro


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