Third Quarter Fundraising -- Johnson Suffering from GOP Scandal Fatigue?
First, Johnson's slightly better than 2:1 fundraising advantage pales in comparison to last cycle, when his fundraising outstripped Gill by more than 5:1.
Second, and perhaps most important, Johnson's advantage is built entirely on the backing of corporate and other Political Action Committees ("PACs"). Johnson is actually trailing in individual donations by $30,962 to $23,665 -- an extraordinary figure given Johnson's incumbency and the GOP registration advantage in the 15th District. Johnson's weakness in individual fundraising -- in contrast he had raised almost $70,000 in individual contributions at this stage of the last election cycle -- may be evidence that part of his GOP base is growing fatigued with the series of GOP scandals we are now seeing, including most importantly those surrounding Tom DeLay, whom Johnson refuses to distance himself from. Or it may be evidence that Johnson, who has reneged on his term-limit promise because he's having too much fun in Washington, prefers the relatively light lifting of fundraising from PACs compared to the hard work of individual fundraising -- leaving him beholden to corporate and other interests rather than the citizens of the 15th District. Either way, it's not encouraging news for Mr. Johnson and his constituents.
Third, Johnson is spending money faster than he brings it in. With $164,887 in disbursements, he's gone through this cycle's fundraising and most of the leftovers from last cycle. While he has $145,452 cash on hand, his campaign debt of $139,974 leaves him only $5,478 in the black. His opponent, in contrast, is debt free and has $26,554 in the bank.
As more Republican members of the House disgorge Tom DeLay's tainted money, one begins to wonder: Maybe Mr. Johnson won't return DeLay's money because he can't afford to.