Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain Out of Money?

OK, not really. As far as I know his personal finances are fine and his campaign has plenty of money to make it the rest of the way to November 4th. But in relation to Obama's campaign, the McCain campaign appears to not have as much to spend.

Keep in mind that McCain took public funding, restricting his ability to raise and directly accept money for his campaign once the primaries and party conventions concluded. Obama did not.

Plus, there are the 527 organizations and the Republican National Committee that can run their own ads and raise money. Obama also has 527 organizations behind him/against McCain. Moreover, both candidates can help raise money for their respective party's national committee. But McCain has a lot more incentive to do so because of the inability for him to receive donations directly.

But, what is a 527? It's an organization formed to comply with section 527 of the tax code. 527's are usually the attack dogs of a campaign. Let me put it this way, the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", the organization that really hurt Kerry's chances at the presidency, was a 527.

Obama's campaign is setting records for fundraising, fueled in no small measure by small, online donations.
But that fundraising by Obama has not come without controversy and scrutiny.
We'll see if the RNC gets their way and the FEC has to audit every single donation received by Obama. Again, the Obama campaign claims that a third of the nearly 500 million dollars it has raised came from donations of $200.00 or less. If the FEC does at some point decide to audit the donations it'll take an army of forensic accountants a little while to track where all those donations came from.
The RNC may just want to throw something else against the wall and just put out the idea that even a small percentage for Obama's received contributions were against the rules or worse, from nefarious sources.

In the short term here's the point. Relative to Senator Obama's campaign coffers, if spending on tv commercials is any indication, McCain's not doing so well :
Obama has recently begun outspending McCain 3-1 on tv ads. Not to mention the radio ads Obama is running. Couple that with McCain having to defend states that usually are no problem for the Republicans to win, like North Carolina and you have McCain spending more in more places than he and his campaign could have possibly contemplated a few months ago.

Now to add insult to injury, at least when it comes to spending money on the campaigns, Obama is buying half hour segments on major networks, in prime time, on October 29, days before the election and on the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the Wall Street downturn that marked the beginning of the Great Depression.

In other words, McCain's campaign apparatus and finances are being stretched. And on top of everything else not going McCain's way (take for example the economy, Palin's favorability rating falling like the Dow, and his performances in the debates) he appears not to have as much to spend as Obama does.

So the McCain campaign's not broke, but it probably has fundraising envy when it looks and sees how much the Obama campaign is spending.