June 15, 2006
The money race

We're still a few weeks away from seeing the second quarter financial reports for campaigns, but there's some good news for Chris Bell in the fundraising numbers from the special session.

According to records filed Wednesday with the Texas Ethics Commission, Bell collected $333,212, more than the $307,534 reported by Strayhorn and the $149,132 by Friedman.

Bell's donations between April 17 and May 15, the period covered by Wednesday's filing, came close to the $375,021 collected by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Let's not kid ourselves - Bell still trails far behind in cash on hand to both Perry and Strayhorn. But this is encouraging no matter how you look at it.

But the report also showed that $100,000, nearly a third of the new money, came solely from Houston oilman A. Earl Swift, who died of colon cancer May 30.

Bell's report also showed $56,900 of in-kind contributions, most of it from Ricardo Wietz of Houston, who let Bell use his plane. Another $8,225 came in the form of donated gemstones the campaign plans to auction.

In-kind contributions are reported the same as cash.

Bell spokesman Jason Stanford said those donations should not discount the money raised.

"We have to play well in all phases of the game," he said.

"Part of that is getting those six-figure checks and getting the big guys on board," Stanford said. "Around here, every single $10 check is cause for celebration."

That "but" is irritating me. The fact that a chunk of Bell's money for the month in question came from one big donation is a good thing. Remember all the stories from before about how traditional big-dollar Dem donors have been cozying up to Strayhorn? That fueled a perception about this race that redounded to Strayhorn's benefit. If that trend is reversing, it's a boon for Bell. And c'mon - how much of Rick Perry's money comes from small donors? Let's be consistent here.

Now again, I don't expect Bell to come close to Perry's culumative totals, or Strayhorn's for that matter. Getting to the same order of magnitude, and getting ahead of Friedman, both of which would help keep words like "underfunded" from getting attached to Bell's name in campaign stories, that's what he needs to do. If the narrative after July 1 is "Bell's fundraising surges ahead of Strayhorn's and Friedman's, keeps pace with Rick Perry's", so much the better. This is a good start; we'll see if the finish is there as well.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 15, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack