Friday, April 13, 2007

US politics by the numbers

There has been a lot of comment recently about the huge amount of money raised by the US Presidential candidates in the first quarter of the year.

However two other numbers took my eye when wading through the mass of reporting on the 1st quarter returns (anyone holding or running for federal office has to file quarterly returns with the FEC the US equivalent of the UK's Electoral Commission).

1) John Warner (the Republican Senator from Virginia) managed to raise only $500 (£250)through the whole quarter. That wouldn't buy you dinner at some Presidential fundraisers. Given the fact that Warner is still talking about standing for re-election in 2008 raising that little money is quite a feat. Many lobbyists will send money to members of congress up for re-election as a matter of course, no matter whether they actively canvas for it or not.

2) Tim Johnson the Democratic Senator from South Dakota is living proof of that. He managed to raise $660,000 in the first quarter, despite being incapacitated by a stroke in late December.

So lobbyists are willing to throw money at Democrat from a heavily Republican leaning state who has spent the last three months in a hospital bed and may never return to work, but are ignoring a popular Republican in traditionally Republican state at federal level (it took a melt-down from George Allen to lose it for them last year). Omens aren't good for the GOP in 2008 it seems.

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