When I was at William and Mary (Class of ’94), I read Jeff Schapiro (Richmond Times-Dispatch) quite a bit. He was something of an odd-ball, a clearly center-left reporter for a center-right paper, but he was a far better and more down-to-earth writer than the overwrought elitists in the Washington Post.
However, in recent years Schapiro has been slipping, and it happened again with rather odd report about Bob McDonnell’s “money troubles” (RTD):
At McDonnell headquarters, the news isn’t the announcement that he has more cash than the three Democrats who are burning through millions for a shot at him. It’s what is being whispered:
That finance director Christi Smith, previously a fundraiser for McDonnell in Northern Virginia, has been replaced with Paige Hahn, who has worked for Newt Gingrich, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican National Committee.
Unopposed for the nomination, McDonnell trails in the money hunt compared with the party’s candidate from four years ago, then-Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who faced minor competition in a primary.
From January 2006, when McDonnell was sworn in as AG, until the close of the latest reporting period on March 31, he has raised just over $6.5 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, an online watchdog of money in politics.
For the same period, between 2002 and 2005, Kilgore generated $7.8 million.
Raised less money than Jerry Kilgore? How can that be! Actually, if one were to take a little time and look back, it’s not that hard to explain.
For starters, long-shots aside, Jerry Kilgore was the presumed Republican nominee for Governor in 2005 from the moment Jay Katzen conceded to Tim Kaine on Election Night 2001. That gave him a two-year head start over McDonnell, during which time (2002 and 2003) Kilgore raised over $1.9 million. McDonnell, by contrast, only had a clear path when Bill Bolling announced for re-election, by which point (March 2008), the nation was already in recession and Virginia would soon follow.
Meanwhile, while Kilgore may have raised $1.3M more at this point in the cycle, he only had $350K more in cash on hand ($3.85M to McD’s $3.5M).
Finally, and most importantly, even at this point, Kilgore had less money on hand than Tim Kaine (Kaine had $5M in the bank on March 31, 2005). While McDonnell has about $1M less on hand than all three Democrats combined, he is more than $1M ahead of the leading Democrat in terms of funds (Terry McAuliffe). Those are dramatically different states of affairs, and McDonnell’s situation is clearly better than the one Kilgore faced in 2005.
One would think Schapiro would have noticed all of this as he went digging around for campaign figures.