The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

GOP Fundraising Numbers
UPDATE: Top Cain Iowa Staff Quit UPDATE: Cain Raises $2.4 Million, Spokeswoman Expresses Confidence

Posted on | July 1, 2011 | 29 Comments

Tim Pawlenty is the first of the major GOP candidates to report his second-quarter fundraising numbers: $4.2 million, which isn’t bad — more than a million a month — although less than the $4.5 million Ron Paul’s campaign is reporting for the second quarter.

Pawlenty supporters (including co-blogger Smitty) can take heart that their guy (a) was doing OK money-wise at a time when he wasn’t doing so good in the polls, and (b) reportedly kept his “burn rate” low by having a lot of people working without pay.

I haven’t heard anything yet from Herman Cain’s campaign about their second-quarter numbers, although I have reason to suspect their total will be substantially lower than Pawlenty’s, probably less than $3 million for the quarter, and Cain’s final cash-on-hand number for the quarter will also likely be lower than Pawlenty’s.

All we know of Mitt Romney’s second-quarter numbers is that his total will be “less than $20 million,” according to the Washington Post.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that Michele Bachmann is no slouch at fundraising, having collected a record $13 million for her 2010 congressional campaign, but there’s no hint of how much she’s raised for her presidential bid so far.

Newt Gingrich might have raised more than his Tiffany’s bill. Or the cost of his Mediterranean cruise. But considering that practically his entire campaign staff quit, Newt’s payroll costs are quite low now.

Keep in mind that we won’t have official FEC second-quarter reports for another two weeks. Also keep in mind that John McCain’s campaign was practically bankrupt by this point in 2007, but he somehow managed to win the nomination anyway, damn it.

UPDATE: Don’t know what this means, but it is reported by Politico that two top Iowa staffers for Herman Cain’s campaign have resigned. This comes on the heels of the resignation of two other Cain staffers, including the campaign’s New Hampshire coordinator. Expect to hear more about this.

UPDATE II: Just got off the phone with Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, who says the campaign has experienced usual “growing pains” since Cain’s upset victory in the May 5 South Carolina debate. The campaign staff is actually growing, she said, and new hires will be announced soon.

“I’m excited . . . I’m actually more confident than I’ve ever been,” said Carmichael, who has worked for the candidate since last fall.

While some last-minute checks are still being tallied, Carmichael said Cain’s second quarter total will be more than $2.4 million, with contributions increasing sharply since the South Carolina debate. Importantly, she said, the campaign has zero debt. All bills and all vendors have been paid. I expect to have a campaign press release shortly.

UPDATE III: And here’s the press release:

Cain Previews First Financial Filings
(Stockbridge, GA) — Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain today released an overview of his first campaign finance report, in advance of the reporting deadline of July 15.
While many candidates started with significant funding prior to the official launch of their campaigns, Cain’s operations started with $0 and have raised more than $2.46 million. The campaign boasts $0 in campaign debt, which Cain believes is a testament to his business principles.
“I am pleased to announce that our campaign has absolutely no debt,” Cain said. “I believe our country is in serious economic trouble, with politicians in Washington spending more than they take in. In my career as a business executive, I employed sound economic principles of fiscal responsibility that I will maintain throughout my campaign. I hope to set an example to those in Washington who should be doing the same.”
Friends of Herman Cain has received contributions from more than 27,000 individuals who have donated amounts ranging between $1 and the Federal Elections Commission maximum of $2,500. Donors hail from all 50 states.
“We are immensely appreciative of the outpouring of generosity from so many supporters across the U.S.,” Cain said. “I am humbled by the trust so many have put in me and assure them I will never forget where I come from, what I stand for and what matters to us as Americans.”
On the heels of increasing poll numbers and positive fundraising, Cain plans to announce additional staff, both “on the ground” and at campaign headquarters, in the coming weeks.

UPDATE IV: The Iowa Republican on the two departing Cain staffers there:

Goff and Hall both worked on Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign in 2008 and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign in 2010. Goff stated that she resigned because the Cain campaign refused to make a serious effort in Iowa, the home of the First-in-the-Nation caucuses.

What does “refused to make a serious effort” mean? Until we get further explanation, I’m going to take that to mean “wouldn’t spend as much money as we wanted.”

The blunt fact is that political campaigns cost money and, as the Cain press release says, his campaign started from $0 and went to $2.4 million in a very short time. And whereas other campaigns haven’t reported how much debt they have outstanding — e.g., unpaid vendors — Cain proudly proclaimed that his campaign has no debts at all.

The downside to the pay-as-you-go method is that, perhaps, you can’t hire all the staff, contractors, consultants and vendors that your Iowa director considers necessary to a “serious effort.” Another downside is that you might not have enough staff to make sure that all the i’s get dotted and all the t’s get crossed. Which is a possible explanation for something I reported at The American Spectator:

Some Cain supporters have complained privately of phone calls not being returned and other examples of sub-par staff performance by the campaign.

And when I say “complained privately,” I mean bitched like Hell about what these sources felt was sloppy or amateurish work. After listening to several accounts of such episodes, I told one source that Cain needs to bring in somebody to start kicking butts, the way Ike brought in Patton after Kasserine Pass.

But I am merely a neutral objective journalist, not a “strategist” or a “consultant,” so what do I know, right?

Anyway, when I called Ellen Carmichael late Friday and got her pep-talk response, I said, “Hey, no need to blow sunshine up my skirt.” Yet she assured me that, despite the bad headlines about these resignations, things really are looking good for the Cain campaign, but they’re a fledgling operation and can expect some rough spots in the road.

Well, OK. Every campaign looks chaotic at times. Y’all might remember last fall, when we kept seeing all these national “generic ballot” polls showing the GOP heading to a possible landslide in the mid-terms, but I was worried sick. Why? Because I’d been up-close-and-personal with several congressional campaigns and knew that they weren’t exactly models of ruthless machine-like efficiency.

Good Lord, some of the crazy stuff that was going on in those districts. I honestly thought Ann Marie Buerkle was doomed in NY-25, and wasn’t really confident that Morgan Griffith could win VA-9. But they both won and the GOP did indeed score a national landslide, so it just goes to show that a bit of bad news or sloppy staff work doesn’t necessarily portend an impending defeat.

It’s only July. Still more than six months until the Iowa caucuses, and we have no idea what’s going to happen in the meantime. There is no reason to panic and run around screaming, “All is lost! We’re all hopelessly doomed!” The Cain campaign has hit a few bumps in the past couple of weeks, but any talk of an “implosion” is premature, or perhaps completely mistaken.

However, a Patton at Kasserine Pass moment may be nearing, and some overdue butt-kicking could begin any day now.


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