Tracy Press: McNerney Hires Fundraisers
On Saturday I reported that Jerry McNerney had hired a fundraising consultant in Washington. In today’s Tracy Press, Nick Juliano picks up the story and runs with it. The article gives Say No to Pombo its first press mention, although in doing so it refers to us as a "liberal blog," which strikes me as somewhat inaccurate. (Maybe when some of the Republicans and Independents I've invited to post here take me up on my offer, it will be clearer that this blog is primarily an anti-Pombo site.) More importantly to all of you, the article provides a couple of interesting factoids to chew on about the status of the race to unseat Pombo.
Here’s the important section in terms of new information:
About two weeks ago, McNerney hired Ken Christensen, of the Washington firm Christensen McDevitt Inc., [Update 11-29-05: sic--correct name is Christensen & Associates, Inc] to expand his fundraising outreach to liberal political action committees, including those representing labor unions and environmental groups.
None of McNerney’s contributions have come from PACs, which were responsible for about a fourth of Filson’s campaign cash. Since September, Filson has contracted with the firm Fraioli & Associates to reach out to Washington donors, said Lisa Tucker, a campaign consultant.
At this point I’m not sure about the merits of the various firms Filson and McNerney have hired. The TP article does include a bit more background on Ken Christensen, but nothing terribly exhaustive. I’m putting this information here in the hopes that one of you may know more about these firms and enlighten the rest of us. If I don’t hear from anyone, I might have to more extensively consult the Google oracle and see what wisdom they can divine for us. Note, said oracle has brought me this information, which shows that Lisa Tucker is very closely tied to Ellen Tauscher. Ellen Tauscher, incidentally, also happens to be a client of Fraioli and Associates. It’s unclear whether Tucker spoke to the TP as a spokeswoman or as a source, but in any event it is clear that Steve Filson has only further folded himself into the warm embrace of Ellen Tauscher’s political family.
The other aspect of the article that I noted was, sad to say, a couple of errors when it came to numbers. Maybe I’m going to embarrass myself again like I did last week, but I’m fairly certain that each of the following excerpts at least give an erroneous impression:
Through the end of September, McNerney, who lost his race last year against Republican Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, had raised about a third as much as Steve Filson, a political novice from Danville who has the support of influential Washington Democrats. McNerney had about $35,000 in the bank compared to Filson’s $100,000, according to the most recently available Federal Election Committee filings.
PoliticalMoneyLine’s analysis and my own both show that McNerney raised at least $53,000 to Filson’s $106,000. Granted, McNerney disbursed quite a bit of that money and ended up with the cash on hand that Juliano reports. Still, it would have been more accurate for Juliano to write that McNerney raised about half as much as Filson, rather than a third as much. Neither sounds (or in fact is) good. But in an article nominally about McNerney’s new fundraising efforts, these type of facts and figures matter.
Whichever Democrat emerges also will have to fight against the built-in advantage for Pombo established by the district’s boundaries.
Forty-four percent of the district’s registered voters are Republicans, compared to 37 percent who are Democrats and 15 percent who didn’t affiliate with either party, according to the most recent statistics from the Secretary of State’s office. However, San Joaquin County, which holds the bulk of the district’s voters, is more evenly split with 43 percent registered Republicans and 42 percent registered Democrats.
I’m not sure why Juliano included the last sentence. It gives the impression that the part of San Joaquin County that lies within CA-11 is more Democratic than the district as a whole, when the opposite is true. In a grotesque example of gerrymandering, a good chunk of relatively Democratic Stockton was cut out from the district to help the re-election chances of former Rep. Gary Condit. Pombo, for his part, was probably happy to see those voters go. In any event, the Secretary of State’s office has just published updated voter registration stats which show that the part of San Joaquin County that is in CA-11 has a 37 percent Democratic/ 46 percent Republican breakdown in voter registration. (If you want to check my math, the stats show 74,909 Democrats and 92,716 Republicans, out of 198,917 registered voters).
Incidentally, for those interested, San Joaquin County as a whole only has a slight difference in the registration of Democrats and Republicans because 35,000 Democrats but only about 21,000 Republicans live in the part of SJC cut out from CA-11. I haven’t really considered it before, but I think it’s likely, just from looking at the numbers, that a significant chunk of Margee Ensign’s potential support in Stockton comes from people who do not live in the district. Because of this, we need to be careful not to overstate her hometown appeal.