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Donations delineate serious 4th District candidates

Money-raising totals at this time point to clear favorites in the race to succeed Rep. Jim McCrery in Louisiana’s Fourth District – whether some candidates wish to believe it.

Of the five declared candidates who had done so in time to be required to file reports to the Federal Election Commission Mar. 31, only Caddo District Attorney Democrat Paul Carmouche had raised the vast majority – in fact, all – of his funds from contributors. The significance of this is that funds raised this way serves as a proxy of approximate support for a candidate with typically the higher the proportion of funds raised from others not using own resources, the greater the perceived quality of the candidate.

Far too many people do not understand the relationship between donations to a campaign and the likelihood of a candidate winning a contest. Donors reflect the larger public and they are like investors, putting money down on candidates they think likely to win in the hopes of having access to that person when elected. Why give to a candidate, unless you truly believe in the ideas of that candidate, if you don’t think much of his chances of winning?

Thus, the largely self-financed nature of some candidates in the contest demonstrates the public at large doesn’t think much of their chances of winning and largely ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. By contrast, those pulling in a decent amount of donations are considered higher quality and could win. By this metric, among those announced at this time, Carmouche would be the favorite.

Another error made in thinking about these dynamics is to believe spending a lot on a campaign can make you into a quality candidate; rather, quality attracts money to spend. This may disappoint some in the campaign, but spending a fair amount of money is not going to make you a winner, and not necessarily competitive or even “serious.” The latter label comes not from spending a lot of money, but having a lot of money given to you and/or a lot of people assisting in the campaign.

Using these definitions, at this point only Carmouche can be considered competitive if not serious, although the numbers indicate Republican Chris Gorman might become so unless he is swamped by the entry into the contest of local attorney Jeff Thompson, endorsed by McCrery, or by the potential interest of state Rep. Wayne Waddell whose voting record in the Louisiana Legislature in the past few years has been among the more conservative. Thompson’s endorsed status and Waddell’s record have the potential to attract some meaningful money and make them clear frontrunners if nobody can else wrest that distinction.

The next reports due in the summer should really distinguish contenders from pretenders. Unless a Republican emerges with a clear margin by then over comrades in money raised from donors, the district is vulnerable to a party switch in the form of Carmouche.


Anonymous said...

I thought that Gorman's ability to garner over $107,000 in individual contributions in about six weeks speaks very well of this first time candidate. He is obviously doing the hard work and must be considered the Republican to beat at this point. The fact that he loaned his campaign $250k indicates he IS a serious candidate.

Carmouche raised less than $5000 more than Gormanin individual contributions,but following his 30 plus year career as an elected official, coupled with his name ID, I expected more.

Thompson will be a "also ran" even with McCrery's endorsement. A trial lawyer will have a hard time capturing a republican nomination in a closed primary.

Doctor Fleming only managed to raise $3000 although he was the first announced republican. Obviously he is going no where.

Waddell is tied up in the legislature until June. He has not ran a contested race in years and does not have proven ability to raise money.

I predict we will see a Carmouche/Gorman general election that will be very close.

Anonymous said...

anonymous (probably Chris Gorman himself) you couldn't be farther from the truth. This election has not even started to warm up. Wait in about three months, then make a prediction.