Friends Like These
I’ve been thinking about those FEC numbers for a few days now, namely the numbers for Jerry McNerney and Steve Filson. All during the primary, we heard how Filson had the support of the DCCC and the Washington Establishment and how their financial backing would transform his campaign into a juggernaut that would roll over any merely mortal candidate.
That’s why I find it interesting to note that at the quarter's end, McNerney had raised $448,648 in net contributions and Filson had raised $425,795. Now, of course, I realize that we can’t ignore the three weeks between the primary and the end of the quarter. Obviously, McNerney raised quite a bit of money during that period of time, and Filson raised none, rather than vice versa; so had Filson won, the numbers would skew back in his favor.
But still… they just weren’t that far apart. McNerney’s people-powered campaign didn’t just express itself through volunteerism; the grassroots went toe to toe with the moneyed interests of the Democratic political establishment.
There is one area, though, where McNerney’s campaign didn’t live up to the DCCC’s financial standards. It didn’t cost Jerry McNerney a small personal fortune.
Steve Filson, on the other hand, came out of his campaign considerably poorer than he entered it. His FEC statement lists a total campaign debt of $56,357. Of that total, $45,000 represents money that Filson lent his campaign -- $15,000 before the primary, and $30,000 to pay off other debts since the primary. That leaves his campaign still owing $11,357. It’s safe to assume that Filson will never be repaid for the money he has loaned to his campaign. Actually, he should consider himself lucky.
Elaine Shaw, the Democratic nominee in 2002, who was also actively supported by the DCCC, had to refinance her house and still carries $266,447 in campaign debt, all in loans that she made to her campaign, none of which are likely to ever be repaid.
I certainly see lines that can be drawn and inferences that can be made in looking at these figures, but I’m interested to hear what you think.