Friday, November 25, 2005

The Fundraising Oracle Gives JBT the Dollar Sign

RNC chairman Ken Mehlman is thought to have treasurer Judy Baar Topinka confirmation of the national support she had been seeking for her gubernatorial campaign. The charismatic and sprightly accordian-playing sixty one year old known to many simply as "JBT" is expected to make a formal announcement of her bid next week. Mehlman was in Illinois last Monday for a fundraiser in honor of Speaker Hastert. (Mehlman is also expected to appear at a December 6 fundraiser for state sen. Dan Rutherford, who is purusing the Secretary of State's office.) Sun Times journalist Lynn Sweet seems convinced that it was her column on the subject that convinced Mehlman and others to intervene, although I am told that Mehlman greatly prefers the horoscope section.

According to the D-2 for the first half of this year, Topinka's statewide campaign fund has just under 1.5 million in the bank. She took in over $900,000 from January to June alone. Incumbent governor Rod Blagojevich has over 14 million in his coffers, and, in the first six months of this year, took over three times as much as JBT's total available at the end of the reporting period. JBT had a higher burn rate; twenty percent to Blago's fourteen. The committments from the national party will boost Topinka's numbers, while their is ample evidence to show that Blagojevich may have already saturated the fundraising market. The pay to play scandals that have rocked his administration will probably make donors hesitant to associate themselves with him.

Still, there are plenty of reasons for Team Blago to be sanguine. Topinka's receipts nearly tripled from the previous reporting period; the governor's increased by a factor of four. However, getting state employees to taut one's record with all matter of letters and promotional materials comes at a steep price. For the last six months of 2004, Blagojevich had a burn rate of over 95% to Topinka's twenty three. This could merely be a sign of a pricey pre-election push, or that the once prevailing wisdom that the treasurer would not run kept her adversary from spending much earlier this year.


Post a Comment

<< Home