Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Warner's Leadership PAC

Pundits often point to the early numbers from Leadership PACs to show how viable a potential candidate will be in the upcoming primaries. Not surprisingly, Mark Warner's Presidential PAC, Forward Together, took top honors among the current Democratic hopefuls for the nomination in 2008. He only started to raise money in the last half of last year, but he still took in 3.3 million dollars.

Not too bad, although his "cash on hand" is only 2.4 million. According to the FEC site, FT spent over 900k. Seems like a lot of start up fees / staff / travel costs, since only $51k was distributed to candidates or committees, but with PACs getting to the details of what is being spend is difficult. Hopefully it is being well spent, as he will need to distribute a lot of money in 2006 and again for 2008.

Against Warner's competition for the "moderate" mantel, he did quite well. Edwards seems to have lost the ability to excite Democratic voters and donors. His One America Committee only raised $625k last year with dismal $23k cash on hand. Bayh' s All America PAC raised $1,551,430.49 last year, but most of that was in the first half of the year, his second half was only $379k. Vilsack's PAC was second to Warner and raised 1.6 million. Of course this number might be skewed since Heartland PAC is not a federal PAC. Unlike the highly regulated federal PAC that can only intake $5,000 at a time, many state PACs can intake unlimited sums from one donor. Clinton who most likely will not be in contention for the moderate mantel, but still the far-and-away Democratic front-runer, raised $113k for her HillPac. Granted her leadership PAC has rightly not been a priority as she is focusing on raising millions for her Senate re-election. Plus the funds she raises for the Senate can be transferred to her Presidential campaign.

Which brings us to another point; Warner needs to be able to raise funds that can be used for a Presidential right after the 2006 election. If he needs to declare early, so be it. Since he is facing a slew of Washington Senators who can essentially raise for their "Senate campaigns" and transfer money, he is going to start at a significant disadvantage.

Daily Kos has a detailed run down of the leadership PACs here. (Note: I believe his Bayh numbers are incorrect).

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