Kelli Ward supporters have been boasting about her recent report stating she raised $525,000. While that is not a small amount of money, we are talking about a statewide US Senate race against the former Republican nominee for President! Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics who closely follows Senate races, suggested Ward’s haul was underwhelming.
“It’s OK, but generally you don’t beat an incumbent senator with fundraising like that,” he said. “You need a big a war chest, or a lot of indirect support, meaning Super PACs and independent expenditures. She does have intense ‘tea party’ support.”
As voters dig deeper to explore the numbers, they tell a far from hopeful story. First, Ward had an exploratory committee set up in March that she rolled into her quarterly report. So rather than her $525,000 being raised in 3 months it took double that time with 6 months. Second, Ward only has $320,000 in cash on hand. Where did the other $200,000 already go? We don’t know yet, since Ward hasn’t shared her more detailed campaign finance report. But we can speculate that Ward likely has some very well paid marketers and vendors making good money off of her race. Lastly, we don’t yet know how much of Ward’s $525,000 were a loan of personal money meant to prop up her numbers.
Why does the money matter? Well, let’s break down the dollars into actual advertising. Senator McCain currently has 4.9 million in cash on hand in contrast to Ward’s $320,000. That means that the Senator has roughly sixteen times the amount of money that Ward has. Think about that for a minute. For every 1 ad that Kelli Ward can run on TV or the internet, John McCain’s team can produce more than 16! Team McCain has a lot to brag about too. Senator McCain brokered a historic copper deal in Arizona last year. He has saved Arizona military installations and has been the leading voice against President Obama’s impotent foreign policy. So, when Kelli Ward runs 1 ad attacking team McCain, the Senator will be able to produce 16 ads with substantive results for Arizona in response.
This is why legitimate outside groups are NOT likely to rush to Kelli Ward’s aid anytime soon.
$320,000 is a lot of money for a household. But in a statewide US Senate race against the chairman of the Armed Services Committee who has over 4 million on hand? As the great Lee Corso says each Saturday, NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!