Ed Gillespie raises more money than any non-incumbent GOP Senate candidate NATIONWIDE
Are you one of those folks who think Mark Warner is essentially unbeatable? Have you thought that no one would be able to draw the funding necessary to undertake what donors might think is an uphill climb for any of our candidates? Think again.
In the first required fundraising report to the FEC, Ed Gillespie’s campaign reveals they have raised over $2.2 million in the last quarter, besting not only his GOP rivals, but also every other Republican challenger or open seat candidate anywhere in the country. Gillespie did this essentially in only a partial quarter, not having had his first fundraiser event until February. Compare that to the INCUMBENT, Mark Warner, whose fundraising totaled just $2.7 million in a full quarter. It’s clear that big and small donors alike in Virginia understand that Mark Warner actually is vulnerable this year, and have whipped out their checkbooks to make it happen.
When people write a check to a campaign, each one of them makes some sort of how likely their donation is to make a difference, balancing risk against potential reward (i.e., whether the money will be wasted on a losing candidate, balanced against the potential for the candidate in question to carry forward with the donor’s own agenda). In Gillespie’s case, the smart money has landed on him as (a) being capable of winning; and (b) being likely to contribute to the rollback of Obama/Warner policies ranging from Obamacare (aka Warnercare) to carbon taxes to a feckless foreign policy. In other words, these folks clearly see Gillespie as a good investment.
Friends, momentum is on our side, and Ed Gillespie is proving it. Every day that goes by with continued and increasing frustration with Warnercare is a day that Mark Warner becomes that much more beatable. Business owners understand what a disaster the law is for them, and how it will only get worse when it is finally fully implemented. Donors know this, too. That’s why Obama keeps delaying coverage mandates until after each successive election.
Gillespie’s chief opponent for the GOP nomination, to be decided at the party’s convention June 7 in Roanoke, is Shak Hill. Hill’s fundraising report is not yet available (we will updated when it is). Clearly, though, the eye-popping numbers Gillespie has posted do tend to undermine Hill’s argument that he is the more electable candidate. But that doesn’t necessarily equate into automatic victory for Gillespie. Hill still has a real chance to win the nomination.
Regardless of how much General Election muscle Hill shows in his fundraising totals, it doesn’t take much to run a credible convention campaign. Hill is still a serious contender, owing largely to dissatisfaction with the so-called “establishment” among large swaths of the GOP base, and will be able to go toe-to-toe with Gillespie until June in the sort of low-cost direct contacts with potential delegates that these types of campaigns require. Million dollar ad buys won’t necessarily change the outcome of a convention. So, Gillespie is not out of the woods yet, and still needs to make sure he gets thousands of his supporters to Roanoke for the big vote. But now he’s got 2.2 million more reasons to argue to those delegates that the best investment they can make with their votes is to nominate him.
And Mark Warner? Might be time to start considering retirement options.