Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kennedy Catching Ballard in Cash Race

Melina Kennedy showed strong fiscal support over the last year as she reports raising almost $900,000 in 2010 and having $939,000 cash on hand. iPOPA's Chris Worden, contributing over on the RTV6 Captiol Watchblog reports that Mayor Greg Ballard only has a smaller-than-you-might-expect advantage on Kennedy with somewhere north of $1.4 million on hand.

Let's face it, Ballard beat the better-financed Bart Peterson in 2007 with chewing gum, bailing wire, and three paper clips in comparison to Peterson's war chest. Of course, there were other factors at work. Since coming in to office, Ballard has presumably been raising money. If $1.4 million is all he has to show for it, he had better get on his horse.

Kennedy, now the clear front runner in a three person race on the Democratic side, is on pace to catch and even surpass Ballard's cash on hand. That should be a remarkable fact when you look at Ballard's status as an incumbent Mayor.

Many factors could be blamed for Ballard's poor showing thus far. Tom John was about as strong as a paper bag in a rain storm as a party chair. He didn't do much to get Ballard elected in '07, and he hasn't done much since to help him raise cash, apparently. It further underlines what poor management the Marion County GOP had under him.

The GOP will also likely point out that Mark Massa was the key candidate in the 2010 countywide election. He lost to Terry Curry despite raising and spending more cash. I'm sure some of the cash that could have gone to Ballard might instead have gone to Massa's losing effort. I'm sure there are other factors, too.

As Worden points out, Kennedy did this without the aid of many high ticket donors as well. There were no cash dumps at work here though Nasser Hanna did donate, according to Worden, $60K to the campaign.

What conclusions can we draw? I think it further shows the weakness of the current Mayor who is apparently struggling to get his own party on board with the idea of re-electing him. While it's not time to yet measure the drapes on the 25th floor of the City-County Building for Kennedy, it certainly looks like conditions are getting more favorable for Mr. Ballard to be back in civilian life one year from today.

Here's the release from Melina Kennedy's campaign:

INDIANAPOLIS (January 5, 2010) – Today, Melina's Kennedy's mayoral campaign announced they will report approximately $939,000 cash on hand and raised almost $900,000 in 2010. This is clearly an amazing start to a campaign that officially launches during an event on Monday, January 10 at 11:30 at the Cannon IV headquarters. Kennedy's fundraising prowess clearly demonstrates the strength of her campaign and depth of support she has as her campaign ramps up.

“The fundraising totals are a reflection of the level of support Melina has received from countless numbers of people from all across the City who believe in her and what her campaign stands for,” said Nick Buis, Melina Kennedy's campaign manager. “We are grateful for the support she has received and for the ideas, thoughts and concerns that people continue to share with us about our great city."

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I think you're missing the real reason why there is not much of a disparity in the cash the canddadtes have. Mayor Ballard has actually raised a ton of money the past three years. No problem there. What is extraordinary is how much money his campaign has spent in off-years when Ballard isn't even running ads. He spent well about $430K in 2008 and $350K in 2009. When this year's report comes out, I think it will show spending of close to a half million dollars, making his total over three off-years of about $1.2 million.

As someone who has worked on campaigns, I can't emphasize enough how unusual that level of spending is for an incumbent during off-years. Usually campaigns go down to a skeleton staff during off years, and very little spending is done during the off-years.