Democrats have money advantage in key Senate races. So what?
Among political pundits and the public, there is an assumption that the amount of money in a campaign fund is a major factor in the outcome. Yes, it is good to have more money than an opponent, but it is not the most important factor by a long shot.
Analyses that make that connection fail to consider THE most important factor in determining the outcome of political races – incumbency. More than 80 percent of all incumbents win re-election – even facing opponents with more money. However, incumbents almost always have the most money. When an incumbent is beaten it is more often than not that the winner had less money than the incumbent.
There is also the reality that a campaign can have too much money. There comes a point of diminishing returns on the money invested. Hypothetically, if a candidate can effectively flood the market with $18 million, an opponent with $30 million does not have as great a benefit as the cash advantage suggests.
I raise this issue because the Cook Report said that the Democrat incumbents in several key battleground states have campaign funds much larger than their Republican opponents. The three states rated as the best prospects for a Republican victory are Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona.
In the end-of-June filing, Nevada Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto had almost $10 million in the bank – compared to barely over $2 million for Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. On the other hand, Laxalt has one of the most famous political names in Nevada.
Money also makes less difference when the issues are highly controversial and heated. In such cases, the public Is more attuned and more motivated. The number of ads or brochures becomes relatively unimportant.
The greatest money advantage goes to Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly in Arizona. He has a $25-million-dollar fund. Much larger than any of the Republicans running in the GOP primary. The top two contenders are Trump-backed Blake Masters and businessman Jim Lamon, a self-funded candidate. There Is no knowing how much he will invest in his own campaign. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is the only candidate who has won a statewide race, but only has $500,000 in the bank.
In the critical Pennsylvania race, where Dr. Oz is defending the seat held by Republican Senator Toomey Oz is very competitive moneywise. Oz has loaned his campaign about $3 million compared to Democrat John Fetterman’s $5 million. But that is after both spent more than $10 million on their primary campaigns.
The Cook Report may make Democrats giddy for a day, but it has virtually no meaning in terms of the races themselves. There is a lot of time to raise money with the big PACs dumping dollars nearer the election – and I do not believe that money – or lack thereof – is going to decide any of these races.
So, there “tis.