The top line numbers:
Money Raised (Jan 1-March 31)
Terry McAuliffe $4,215,042
Bob McDonnell $2,219,388
Brian Moran $804,486
Creigh Deeds $728,663
Money Spent (Jan 1- March 31)
Terry McAuliffe $2,500,146
Bob McDonnell $754,847
Brian Moran $753,152
Creigh Deeds $318,606
Money Netted (Jan 1-March 31)
Terry McAuliffe $1,714,896
Bob McDonnell $1,464,541
Creigh Deeds $410,057
Brian Moran $51,333
Cash On Hand (As of March 31st)
Bob McDonnell $3,499,342
Terry McAuliffe $2,433,713
Creigh Deeds $1,213,937
Brian Moran $823,888
Let's start with the money raised this period. Neither Brian or Terry was subjected to any time limitations on fundraising, while both Creigh and Bob were. In the same time period, Terry outraised Brian by over a 5-1 margin. Meanwhile, Terry was only outspending Brian by about a 3-1 margin. This gave Terry a double advantage of being able to spend more over the last three months, while also having the margins to be able to save a much bigger chunk of his money. If I were Brian, what I would be concerned about is not Terry's money, but his own campaign. He's not winning the early spending war for infrastructure, and he's not banking money for down the stretch at a good clip. One of the keys to winning an underfunded campaign is to give up on certain things and do the other things really well. Brian seems to want to compete in every aspect of the campaign, but is ok with not trying to win them. If you don't win any particular aspect of the campaign, how are you going to win overall? Brian's running a grassroots campaign, but Terry's prospecting and spending has given him more small donors and more volunteers on the ground at recent events. From this report, I really can't figure out what Brian is trying to do.
Meanwhile, take a look at Bob versus Creigh, in the battle of guys who couldn't fundraise for half of the period during session. Bob took $1,200,000 from the Republican Governor's Association. That's over half of his take for the entire period. Take that money out which is only available to a nominee (Creigh is not), and Bob is barely outraising Creigh for this period! That's stunning for a statewide elected official and nominee of his party, versus state legislator and underdog in a primary. I think that stat speaks to two things- first how well Creigh did, but also how poorly Bob did for a guy who should have the entire Republican establishment behind him.
McDonnell obviously leads in Cash on Hand, as he has been banking money for a few years now, while Democrats raced and spent money towards a primary. He's doing a decent job of not overspending this early, and I would guess that $3,500,000 will probably be $6,000,000 on hand before this primary is over. That number is not good for the Democrats, but it could be a lot worse if McDonnell was doing better raising money, so it might be a bullet dodged for now.
What's most interesting from this report, is how the campaigns look for voter contact expenses that will gear up in the next couple weeks. I would guess Terry has about $500,000-$800,000 in staff and other organizational expenses before the primary. That leaves him with $1,700,000 already in the bank for voter contact plus whatever he raises between now and June 9th. Historically fundraising picks up as you get closer to an election, so Iet's expect Terry's second quarter to be better than the first quarter in money raised- which was already over four million. For assumption purposes, let's say only about 25% more in the second quarter, which would be another 5.3 million dollars. That gives Terry $7,000,000 to spend on voter contact. Back to this in a minute...
Brian also has a lot of overhead, I would guess about $500,000 worth between now and the primary. That means he only has about $300,000 in his account so far for voter contact- plus whatever he raises between now and primary day. Assuming Brian stays viable enough that donors don't pull back, I think he can raise a least double what he did this period before the primary. That's $1,600,000- rounding that up with the cash he has now that isn't allocated, Brian will be able to spend about $2,000,000 on voter contact. Back to this in a minute...
Creigh has the smallest overhead- probably only about $300,000 between now and the primary. That leaves him just under $1,000,000 to spend on voter contact, plus whatever he raises between now and the primary. Creigh has less small donors than Moran or McAuliffe, which means his take may not increase as much over this period between now and the primary. Let's assume a best case scenario for Creigh, and he raises another $1,500,000 between now and the primary. That would give Creigh about $2,500,000 to spend on voter contact.
So what's does Terry's $7,000,000 do versus Creigh's $2,500,000 and Brian's $2,000,000 on voter contact? In the past a week of network television in the NoVA media market (with a good buy that the average person sees 10 times in a week) was about $690,000. The recession has moved that back to about $500,000 right now. To buy every other market in Virginia at that same level is about $200,000 per week, so that is a total of $700,000 for one week of statewide television. Unless Creigh or Brian want to blow 1/3 of their total spending on TV for the last week of the primary, they are both probably priced out of a statewide TV buy.
Meanwhile, the second most popular way to contact voters is direct mail. For a nice looking piece from a quality vendor, the campaigns are looking at a rate of about 45-50 cents per piece (printing and postage). This gets cheaper at bigger volumes, and can range a little by firm, but that range is probably the closest we can use across the board for the types of sorts in a Democratic primary for Governor. The largest sort a campaign might use this year would be everyone who voted in the 2008 Presidential Primary- that's about 1,000,000 voters and about 600,000 households, making each mailing cost about $275,000. More likely the campaigns will be looking at statewide sorts in the 200,000 household range which would cost roughly $100,000 to mail.
Radio, Internet, and Cable TV and election day GOTV canvassers are all much smaller expenses, and won't play as big of a factor in budgeting.
It's always easier to run this kind of program with more money, and Mike Henry/Mo Elleithee has a lot of options at their disposal for Terry. With $7,000,000 to spend in voter contact, I would guess Terry is looking at a 6 week statewide TV blitz before the primary that will cost about $4,200,000. That leaves him with enough for 15 statewide mailers ($1,500,000) or combination that leads to that, and another million+ for radio, internet, canvassers in the last couple weeks, etc. Watch out- cause this is going to be a machine type effort.
Creigh Deeds/Joe Abbey also have an easy time with strategy. If turnout in NoVA is big, Creigh will lose this primary no matter what else happens. To be viable, he has to first get a little luck with low to medium NoVA turnout- and then everything has to go right for Creigh from there downstate. This makes his spending decisions easy, as Criegh will certainly not even consider a network TV buy in Northern Virginia. Purchasing all the other markets in the state is only about $200,000 per week! This means Creigh could possibly match Terry dollar for dollar in downstate TV markets for 6 weeks- and only spend $1,200,000 of his $2,500,000 for voter contact. This would leave him enough for four or five targeted mailers ($500,000) and still have $800,000 left for downstate radio and GOTV costs. If NoVA turnout is low, the remaining primary electorate may actually see Creigh virtually as much as they see Terry- giving him a clear shot at the upset if everything goes right.
The most complicated situation is Brian Moran's and it is probably good that he has consultants like Mame Reiley/Steve Jarding to work through this rubix cube. It's doubtful he will want to spend $500,000 on a week of NoVA television when he will probably only have about $2,000,000 to spend on GOTV overall. This means Brian is likely to run a heavy direct mail program. I'd guess we are looking at about 8 targeted statewide mailers ($800,000), another six targeted just to NoVA ($300,000), some cable TV in NoVA ($200.000) and the rest spent on radio, internet and GOTV. This means if you live in Northern Virginia, Brian will probably match Terry in your mailbox and at your door- but you won't see him on TV unless you are watching a cable show. Meanwhile in the rest of the state, other than a few mailers, some radio, and some GOTV organizing in urban areas- you are unlikely to see much of Brian. For this to work- Brian needs Northern Virginia to be over 40% of the vote in this primary, and he needs to win at least 2/3 of that vote. That would give him 27-28% statewide just from NoVA- and would mean he would only need to capture 25% of the vote in the remaining 60% of the state to get to 42%- likely enough to win a three way race. However- 25% of the vote in the rest of the state may be expecting way too much from Brian- especially given how little money he is spending downstate. 15% of the downstate vote would give Brian about 36% of the statewide vote in this scenario- a number that could possibly win a three way, if Deeds is strong enough to win at least 30% of the statewide vote. But counting on a perfect split between McAuliffe and Deeds is not something the campaign will want to plan on- although they will be perfectly happy to take the win if that scenario plays out.
Overall- the one clear message from these reports is Terry McAuliffe is the favorite for the nomination- Creigh's only real chance to win is with low NoVA turnout, and Brian's only road the nomination is with high NoVA turnout and winning a huge share of that vote. But depending which way the ball bounces in Northern Virginia, there is still a plausible road to the nomination for all three candidates heading into the home stretch...