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HOUSE RACES: A Tale of Two Primaries

by: Kenton Ngo

Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:00:00 AM EDT

keamHD35, HD47: It's important to note as political junkies pick over yesterday's first quarter finance reports that a candidate's fundraising is only usefully compared to their direct opponents. Take Northern Virginia's two open-seat primaries. Five Democrats jumped into each of the two contests in Fairfax's 35th District and Arlington's 47th District. Granted, the 35th is only a Democrat-leaning seat in the general election, and hell will freeze over when Arlington elects a Republican.

Perhaps the five 47th District candidates should convoy out on I-66 (ask them about widening the highway if you want an earful) and raid Fairfax, where prospective candidates grab fistfuls of cash that fall off the palm trees. Mark Keam has managed to outraise, single-handedly, all five of them combined, and now holds a substantial lead in 35th District fundraisng. Keam is tapping heavily into the Korean-American and general Asian-American community, scoring checks from both inside the district and far-flung Asians like California Congressman Mike Honda. Roy Baldwin comes in second, with the help of $30,000 from the candidate and $4,000 from his law firm.

HD33: Leesburg Tomorrow reports that Mike Turner announced to the Loudoun County Democratic Committee that he has dropped his challenge against Delegate Joe May, citing poor fundraising and a desire to focus on the Wounded Warrior Project. May, a longtime incumbent currently sitting on about $50,000, would have been a favorite to win re-election. At this late phase, it's unlikely Democrats can put up a serious challenge.

We'll be sifting through the rest of yesterday's finance reports for any interesting shiny nuggets of information. Stay tuned.

Kenton Ngo :: HOUSE RACES: A Tale of Two Primaries
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The reason for the difference
is probably in what you already noted.  In a heavily Democratic area, why spend a lot of money on these candidates?  There are other statewide contested races and other marginal Democratic districts to defend.

Can you add a table?
The stacked-bar chart is great for seeing a rough comparison (and making your point), but I'd like to see the actual numbers, especially in the 35th. Can you add a table (or a link to one, if someone else has compiled one)?

So-called "Substantial Lead"
Keam's cash-on-hand ... $100K. Baldwin's cash-on-hand ... $80K. In a race this size, both candidates have more than enough to get their message out and communicate with voters. I know you are supporting Mark, Kenton, but it's not accurate to say Keam has a substantial lead over Baldwin. And if you look at support coming from inside the District or nearby NoVA neighborhoods, Baldwin is in a far stronger position.

Keam's Fundraising
Actually, 49% of Keam's donations came from within the district. In addition, he had over 500 individual donors, showing a wide base of support and only put in $5,000 of his own money. Of course it's not all about the money and Keam was the first candidate on the doors and has gained much support that way. He also has a dedicated team of volunteers that stretches to every precinct of the district.    

That Keam Figure Not Possible
With respect to the previous commenter, a quick check of Mark Keam's fundraising report on the state election web site shows that 49% of his donations haven't even come from Virginia, so that much from inside the district is impossible.  Download his report and sort by state to check.

In fact, less than a third of Keam's money came from within Fairfax County. And if you look even closer, only about 10% came from inside the district. I guess we don't know where the unitemized money came from, but some of it was surely local.  

Nevertheless, none of this adds up to 49%.

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