#18 Delegates and Dollars

On February 8, 2008

Hello Everyone,

This will be a quick note to make a few observations following so-called Super Tuesday. I am doing this on the fly from Bethesda, MD where our fourth grandchild, and first grandson, was born on Wednesday.

Many of us don’t know how to feel right now. American voters are like American sports fans – we like to know who has won after two or three hours of competition. We don’t like ties, or games that go on too long. Well, we have a tie on our hands – which is, in fact, good news when you’re supposed to be the underdog. I am increasingly optimistic about Barack’s chances to win the nomination. But we will all have to be patient.

As I’ve been saying for awhile – delegates matter. Now, we should start following the money more closely, too.

Getting my hands on reliable numbers will take awhile. In the meantime, I suggest we not believe everything we read in newspapers and hear on television.

Pledged Delegates

  1. Pledged Delegates (awarded by the primaries and caucuses) are the principal indicators of how the campaigns are doing.
  2. Various preliminary sources indicate that Barack remains ahead by a handful of Pledged Delegates.
  3. Neither candidate is anywhere close to having a decisive number of delegates – so we have a long way to go.
  4. Barack won more states on Tuesday than Senator Clinton, so he maintains that lead, too. But, remember, this is like winning innings in baseball – nice, but not determinative.
  5. Barack, as we expected, won in more so-called “red states” than Senator Clinton.
  6. Tuesday’s preliminary popular vote in the primaries was virtually dead even despite the fact that Senator Clinton “won” more of the larger states. In addition, Barack won six of the seven caucus states on Tuesday, but caucus-goers are not included in the popular vote tabulation. So I think it is safe to conclude that starting with Iowa more people have voted or caucused for Barack than Senator Clinton or any of the Republican candidates.

Money

There is one other aspect of this contest to keep your eye on – the money race.

While many of us are disturbed by the vast amounts of money being spent on these campaigns, it is a fact of life – and another valuable campaign indicator.

Here, too, I have more questions than answers at this point.

  1. According to the Federal Election Commission, Senator Clinton raised almost $116 million in 2007. She transferred another $10 million from her senate campaign to her presidential campaign. Barack raised a little more than $102 million in 2007.
  2. Only primary election money can be spent before the convention in August. General election money can be spent only after the convention.
  3. The vast majority of Barack’s total was raised as primary election money; in fact, we members of his National Finance Committee have been repeatedly instructed to not raise money for the general election.
  4. We suspect that a significant portion of Senator Clinton’s funds were raised for the general election. She does not disclose how much.
  5. Barack raised more than $32 million in January 2008, or perhaps as much as $15-$20 million more than Senator Clinton. I don’t think that she has disclosed how much she has raised in January yet. This would mean that Barack’s total cash collected through January approximates $134 million. This compares to a rough estimate for Senator Clinton of $141 million.
  6. So why has Senator Clinton just loaned her campaign $5 million? Why are her campaign manager and others going without pay?
  7. What are the sources of the Clintons’ wealth – and its magnitude – that enables them to make this loan?
  8. In roughly 36 hours following the closing of the polls on Tuesday night, Barack’s campaign reported raising over $7 million. To date, more than 650,000 people have contributed to his campaign at an average of slightly over $200 per donor. This is a strong indicator of Barack’s wide appeal. Many of these folks have the capacity to make additional donations.

Delegates and money matter. Many questions remain. Few precise answers yet. But, Barack clearly seems to be doing well on both fronts.

More to come as I learn more.

As always, please pass it on.

Chuck

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