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Perry’s haul

Rick Perry does what Rick Perry does best.

Gov. Rick Perry has raised $4.2 million in the final nine days of June, giving him $9.3 million to begin his expected GOP primary campaign against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Hutchison transferred money from her U.S. Senate account at the end of last year, giving her $8 million to start the campaign.

Perry was prohibited by state law from raising money during the regular legislative session and through the period when he can sign and veto bills. Hutchison had no such restrictions.

Hutchison’s campaign was giving no hint of how much she raised. Detailed reports on fund-raising for the first half of this year are not due until next Wednesday.

“Kay Bailey Hutchison is proud of her strong statewide support, which is both broad and deep,” Hutchison spokesman Hans Klingler said in a statement.

It’s a good total for Perry, and Hutchison’s weak response suggests that maybe she didn’t do so well, or at least that she didn’t measure up to the perceived expectations. Either way, it’s another news cycle win for Perry, who has been on a roll with that lately.

But please. He did not raise this money in nine days. He raised it over six months’ time. It was only in the last nine days that he was able to actually collect the checks that his supporters had been sitting on since January, waiting for the fundraising window to open again. I’ll stipulate that if he’d been able to work the phones and hold events his total would likely have been higher; we’ll have a better idea of how much higher when we see the fundraising reports for this six-month period. The same will be true of anyone else that was subjected to the legislative blackout period. So let’s not overstate what happened here.

Perry’s campaign refused to release a list of his donors on Wednesday.

He financed his 1998 race for lieutenant governor in part with a $1.1 million loan guaranteed by three donors. And in 2006, a $1 million donation by Houston businessman Bob Perry, no relation, to the Republican Governor’s Association coincided with a $1 million donation from the RGA to Perry’s campaign.

Again, we’ll have a better handle on this six months from now. If Perry’s funding comes entirely or in large part from the usual set of plutocrats, he may have a hard time keeping up.

With half a year of fund-raising left to go, Perry and Hutchison could enter the primary with each having $20 million budgets.

It used to be the accepted wisdom, at least in Democratic circles, that primaries were bad and destructive and wastes of money. That was before last year, when the many positive effects were demonstrated, including energizing and engaging newer voters, broadening the donor base, generating name recognition for the eventual winner, and doing tons of voter contact that came in handy in November. This, however, is the kind of primary that those naysayers had worried about. It’s not going to be an energizing campaign, it’s going to be an exercise in trench warfare and increasing the other candidate’s yuck factor. Which isn’t to say it can’t be overcome – November is a long way from March, Democrats overcame a lot of hostility from their primary last year, and Republicans did very well in numerous races in 2002 and 2004 in other states after nasty primary fights – but you can see the cause for concern. The cause for concern on the Democratic side is looking at those dollar amounts and thinking there’s no way to compete with them. That’s the sort of thing that led to the Strayhorn folly of 2006, and may lead to crossover primary voting for Hutchison next year; there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of Dems being willing to do that just to make sure we don’t get four more years of Rick Perry. Until the Democratic field is settled and we get a better idea of how those fundraising efforts are going, it’s all guesswork.

Finally, in related news, there’s another poll showing Perry with a lead over KBH in the Republican primary. I don’t really have anything to say about this, but Burka, BOR, and The Contrarian do, so go check them out.

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2 Comments

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    It is fascinating how the Democrats seem to be focusing on getting Kay Bailey Hutchison elected governor instead of a Democrat – could the reason why be that so far the Democrats have not managed to find a viable candidate for governor? For the third time in a row it seems we are being offered someone who will “work well with Republicans.” Which explains why the Republicans vote for the Repubulicans and the Democrats give up and don’t vote.

    The Republicans for the most part win in Texas by default. Which is the fault of the Democratic Party in Texas that for some reason LIKES Democrats who will “work well with Republicans” and for some reason is just fine with the Republicans who get elected.

    Be careful what you wish for. You may get it. And regret it.

  2. […] what it’s worth, some people outside of Texas think she may yet wimp out on), even more than Rick Perry does. What she didn’t display was a show of support, or much of an eye for presentation, but […]