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August 23, 2005

Money talks ...

... but what is it saying?

A press release from the Pat Jehlen campaign reports that she has raised more money, and has more money in the bank, than any of the other three candidates for the Second Middlesex Senate seat.  According to the release, which says it's based on OCPF filings, Jehlen has raised about $113,000 to Mackey's $75,000 and Casey's $50,000.  Callahan, apparently, did not bother to file.  The release also notes that as of the August 12 filing date, Jehlen had about $59,000 in the bank, compared to Mackey's $22,000 and Casey's $18,000.

This is, of course, good news for Jehlen - other things being equal, more money is better than less money.  At the same time, though, it's not very surprising - after all, Jehlen has amassed a list of endorsements from interest groups far longer than any other candidate, and endorsements like those are probably most useful for raising money (I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten from MassEquality and others urging me to donate to or volunteer for Jehlen).  What I actually find somewhat surprising - and not such good news for Jehlen - is that Mackey, presumably competing for a lot of the same voters as Jehlen, was able to raise as much money as he did without anywhere near the special interest group assistance that Jehlen had.  Remember, the maximum donation in Massachusetts campaigns is $500, and of course lots of people only send in $25 if they send anything at all, so raising $75,000 for a special election without a slew of special interest groups behind you is no mean feat.

All of which is to say: take this stuff for what it's worth, i.e., not a whole lot.  As everyone recognizes (but as it's worth reiterating), it's not ultimately about how much money you raised, or how many endorsements you have, or which newspapers are behind you.  It's about how many people you can get to show up on August 30 and vote for you.

Posted by David at 09:54 AM in Massachusetts | Permalink


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The checks are coming in to Mackey now. Alot more then coming to Jehlen.
The lobbyests are already hedging their bets. I bet Mackey raised(es) 10 to 20 grand in last 2 weeks of campaign

Posted by: The troll | Aug 23, 2005 10:10:02 AM

Actually, it's surprising that Mackey has done so poorly raising money. He has strong ties to lawyers, labor groups, and other networks who should have been giving him big money all along. In fact, he was going around to endorsement meetings early in the campaign telling people he was going to raise the most money (he said this at the PDS forum), and was telling people that Pat couldn't raise money. Most people actually expected him to raise more money than anyone else in the race, so the fact he's come up so short shows that the establishment dems, his networks, and the progressives have held back, and largely gone with Jehlen. With one week left, that's a huge deficit to make up.

Posted by: Sean | Aug 23, 2005 10:22:00 AM

Sean, you talk like money comes from the progressives. More to it then that. And Mackey transcends progressives to reagan dems.
Wow, i can smell the fear on this blog from the jehlen supporters. They seem very very very nervous. I think they protesteth (hmm very elizabethian) too much

Posted by: The troll | Aug 23, 2005 10:52:07 AM

Don't forget, David, that Mackey donated $7300 more of his own money than did Jehlen. That saved him at least fifteen maximum donations.

That being said, from my vantage point (casual observer from two towns over) it seems that Mackey has a lot of momentum right now and I wouldn't be surprised if he squeaked by Jehlen. That said, I'm reluctant to make any predictions in this race because it really all comes down to who's not going to be on vacation the week before Labor Day. The campaigns are going to have to drag people kicking and screaming to the polls and I'm not really in any position to say which campaign is best suited to do that right now.

Posted by: sco | Aug 23, 2005 10:57:52 AM

Money is not going to be the deciding factor -- organization is. And it seems that there's pretty widespread agreement of that fact among most on this blog.

It is true though that Mackey told every group that he was going to raise more money than anyone else in the field. He told this to many of the groups who's endorsement he sought. And he did not.

But this is nothing new. In 1990 (and Troll the historian can probably verify this) he repeatedly told people that he was even with Reilly on money -- but when the OCPF reports came out in the summer he had raised about 100K less and had over 150K less on hand.

But then, he's also claimed he got out of politics to spend time with his family in 1990 which makes sense until we learn that he ran for this same seat in 1992 -- which is fine but doesn't sound to me like "getting out of politics." But hey, people say what they're going to say. I write this not cause I think it's a big deal, I think it's kind of funny.

Back to the money. They both raised a lot of money, and I bet they're both raising money still today. The cash on hand can make a big difference with mail and advertising and everything you need in the final days.

Every campaign is trying to show how strong it is in the final week of this thing. And the district is a lot bigger than Somerville -- where it looks like a Jehlen vs Mackey contest -- so really each of the candidates has something to brag about. Casey is attracting more and more conservatives, Callahan has the organization in Medford.

I'll be with Jehlen on election day. I don't think anyone is going to catch up to her with her organization. But my loyalty notwithstanding, I will say this is going to be fun to watch!!

Posted by: Medford Dem | Aug 23, 2005 12:13:23 PM

David, your comment surprises me. Back around the beginning of the campaign, Mackey was going around telling people that the reason to support him over Jehlen was that while they're both good progressives (I don't entirely agree), he's the one who could actually raise the money to win a tough election like this. He's probably not keen to remind people now, that he used to say that.

The importance of cash on hand right now, is that it pays for mailings, and repeated mailings to targeted voters and identified supporters has been cleary demonstrated time after time to turn out the vote. Repetition matters. A candidate with enough money to send a couple of mailings to every voter they'd like to reach, in this last week before election, will get more votes for it. Not enough cash on hand can mean compromises - fewer mailings than you'd like, or hitting a smaller set of voters than you'd like. That directly translates into fewer votes.

Posted by: Cos | Aug 23, 2005 3:56:09 PM

Well, I always try to be surprising!

Posted by: David | Aug 23, 2005 7:00:05 PM


Posted by: Cos | Aug 24, 2005 2:46:07 AM

Medford Dem, I just wanted to clear up one of the things you said in your post. Mackey's last race was in 1990 against Tom Reilly for DA. You're wrong about him running for this seat in '92. I've lived in the district all of my life, and Mackey's kids were in school with my kids, so I know he was not in politics in '92. He was doing just what he said he wanted to do: earning a living, and attending PTA meetings, athletic events, community events, family events, etc. In other words, he was living in the 'real' world, the best background you can have for politics!!

Posted by: justonething | Aug 27, 2005 7:50:54 PM

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