The Money Game: How much do Perry, KBH have?

The end of June means one thing for the Texas governor’s race:  it’s time to report how much money each campaign has on-handPerry’s out ahead of this story because he needs to be—he was unable to raise funds during the legislative session.

For this cycle, the fundraising window spans from January 1 to June 30, and the report comes out July 15.  As of the last fundraising deadline, the two major candidates were about even:  Rick Perry had $6.6 million on hand, while Kay Bailey Hutchison had $7.8.  So, slight advantage to Hutchison.

Since the end of the legislative period, Perry has again been able to raise money.  While he couldn’t lock down money during that period, he was likely able to secure verbal commitments that have likely been pouring in the last few days.  In the meantime, his campaign is trying to tamp down expectations.

But in reality, Perry has never had any problems raising money.  During his most last run for governor at this time, Perry raised $2.3 million in the last ten days of June 2005.  Clearly he’s doing work during the legislative session to bring in this money.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but for him to pretend he’s at this great disadvantage is a little bit silly.

On the other side of the coin, the Perry folks will likely try to inflate expectations of Hutchison’s  numbers.  For a point of reference, Perry’s largest six-month reporting amount was about $4.7 million.  Either one of these candidates reaching this number would likely outpace expectations, considering the current economic climate.  People are simply less willing to give during a recession.

So where does this leave us?  We might expect something like $9 million for Perry and $10 million for Hutchison.  In the end, who really knows, but these numbers would not surprise me.  Perry’s formal inability to raise money never stopped him getting commitments.  Since he’s trying to lower expectations, it could mean he’s doing better than expected (the “blow them away” strategy) or he’s doing worse than expected (the “ease expectations” strategy).  So is Perry a risk-taker or will he try to play it safe?

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