The 2010 Money Primary – Round 1

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Texans for Public Justice has released its analysis of fund raising for the 2010 governor’s race through June 2009. The full report is available in .pdf format.

The first contest in elections today is the “money primary.” Before the first primary vote is cast contributors will have spoken and defined which candidates are considered viable. Perry and Hutchison clearly lead the field with about $14 million each (although that includes $8 million transferred from Senator Hutchison’s Senate campaign war chest). Neither seems to enjoy a clear advantage over the other. However, those totals are impressive. There’s no reason to believe that Perry or Hutchison will slow down and we can expect the records to start falling in that primary race.

Source: Texans for Public Justics

Source: Texans for Public Justice

The full report has lots of tables and analysis. For example, bout 60% of Perry’s cash and 34% of Hutchison’s cash comes from donations of $25,000 or more. Perry’s average donation from individuals ($1,559) is about twice as large as the average individual donation for Hutchison ($847). Perry also seems to be getting a larger share of his funds (18%) from “institutional donors” (political committees and business) than Hutchison (5%).

Some of these figures will shift over the course of the campaign. One large direct mail campaign could bring in a flood of small donors that could lower the average contribution while a major high dollar fund raising dinner could drive the average up. As a federal candidate Senator Hutchison had to raise her funds in smaller individual donations allowed by federal law and her team may start chasing bigger donors once the get fully acclimated to operating in the more wide-open rules of Texas campaign finance law.

The report also has tables on money raised by zip code. Perry does especially well in Austin while Hutchison fares best in Dallas. Both candidates seem to be doing well in Houston.

Texans for Public Justice  attempted to look at contributions by gender. Some donations were hard to categorize, but it appears that Hutchison is doing significantly better with women than Perry.

Meanwhile, watching the numbers on the Democratic side should tell us a lot about who are the viable Democrats will be. With their campaigns just getting started, Tom Schieffer, Kinky Friedman, and are barely showing up. Because no Democrat has “scare money” (the large war chest that can intimidate potential opponents) other Democrats might jump in the race and the field looks wide open.

And just remember: We’ve still got a full year until the general election.

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