|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Was GOP stingy with its campaign money?
Posted by David Postman at 8:48 AM
Eric Earling dug into the state Republican Party finances and says "there are indeed some troublesome issues with the State Party's 2006 fundraising." Earling says that under Chairwoman Diane Tebelius, the party did not spend what it could on close races where Republicans lost in November. Instead, the money was saved until after the election and used to pay off remaining debt from the legal fight over the governor's election.
Rep. Jon Serben lost by 260 votes in the 6th LD; the WSRP spent no money of the $57,280.30 possible under the cap
Earling is writing about the fundraising in the context of the race for state party chair. Tebelius is facing a challenge from former state Sen. Luke Esser, who was defeated in November.
Questions about money management are clearly part of that campaign. A Republican friend mentioned to me Friday about the list of races where the state party could have spent more.
There is often a tension between party chairs and campaigns. Party officials are criticized by field operatives as being too concerned about internal operations and not willing to be bold in campaign spending. This was a major issue four years ago with former Chairman Don Benton, who lost his post, in part, because of complaints he had held back money from competitive races.
UPDATE: In the comment thread, Curt Eidem writes:
Even more interesting is the rumor that Dave Schmidt didn't spend $50,000 he had collected, holding it for a run at Snohomish County Auditor.
I just checked the Public Disclosure Commission site and Schmidt has more than that left over. Records show he has $67,627.28. There could still be bills to pay. (I don't see Schmidt's year-end report on the PDC site that would say for sure.)
Seems hard to criticize Tebelius for not spending all she could on a race if the candidate doesn't spend everything on hand, too. Schmidt has more left-over dough than any other state Senate candidate -- $8,000 more than the next closest.
Toby Nixon has $16,000 in surplus funds. He ranks 16th of 52 Senate candidates in terms of the amount of campaign funds left over.
UPDATE: I just talked to Tebelius. She said she wouldn't talk about specific funding decisions. But she says whatever happened, it wasn't on her say-so alone.
"It is really silly for anyone to believe that spending decisions are made in a vacuum and that they are made by one person. They are made in consultations with many different people because the Republican Party is a body of many. ... I cannot and will not reveal why certain decisions were made other than to say the decisions were made and they were right at the time.
Tebelius pointed out that Esser was able to raise $407,000 for his campaign. That makes that the third largest legislative campaign account in state history.