There's nothing I dislike more than being wrong. I would love to be able to say it doesn't happen often....but it does. At my age, I've learned it is always best to admit, apologize and move on. That being said, I made a big oooops in my Kissell/Hayes article last week.
Read what I learned from my mistake on the flip side...
I have so many FEC files saved to my computer, I pulled up the wrong first quarter filing and used the wrong set of fundraising numbers for Robin Hayes. It doesn't really make a huge difference in the amount referenced considering Hayes already had a substantial war chest. Robin Hayes raised about $50,000 more than I gave him credit for. Important difference in totals or not, I don't like being the source of inaccurate information, so I am making a correction.
Once I realized my mistake I started looking more closely to see just how Robin Hayes had raised his money. Hayes received almost $125k in individual contributions and a little under $100k in PAC contributions for first quarter 2006. Neither number stands out as unusual for this time period in his campaign filings. The number that stood out was the $191,000 plus in a transfer from another committee. The NCGOP Executive Committee had to raise money for Robin Hayes.
I don't know about you, but I find that amazing. A multimillionaire with a war chest had to rely on the NCGOP to help him raise money. After a little more digging, I figured out why.
Larry Kissell has Robin Hayes scared for his political life. He might not have the big donors or a wad of cash in the bank or his back pocket, but it looks like he is cornering the market on those donations under $200 that don't have to be itemized. Why would this make Hayes scared? Those little donations come from the voters in the district.
Those wealthy people in Charlotte that Robin Hayes likes to court only get to vote once for their $4200 donation. Those mill workers who lost their jobs to free trade agreements get that same vote for their $20 donation. Increasingly, those small donations are going to Larry Kissell and more than likely so are those votes.
Admittedly, I'm still suffering from bronchitis and taking too much cold medicine to talk numbers, but see if you can follow along with me while I take a look at the unitemized contributions for Robin Hayes over the past few years.
First the big news. They are trending down - way down. The numbers are usually reported or combined into election cycles with one off year and one election year. To be fair I am comparing off years and elections years. The two off years we will look at are 2003 and 2005.
First.........$ 7,899.....$13,314...$ 4,365...$12,004
Second....$14.020....$10,160...$ 6,179...$ NA
Fourth......$14,369....$ 9,624...$12,437...$ NA
If you compare 2003 to 2005 you see that each quarter trends down and it appears that the same is true with a first quarter comparison for 2004 and 2006. Remember, though, it isn't the dollars that matter. It's the fact that these dollars truly represent the voters in the district, not the big business PACS or the out-of-town millionaires.
Most of the money supporting the Hayes campaign is coming from business PACS, leadership PACS and wealthy people in Charlotte. All that money can buy signs, ads and polls but it can't buy the majority of voters in the 8th District. There is one voter we suspect can be bought. I'm not naming names. I'm just saying....
All this aside, getting large donations is a good thing and Larry Kissell needs to raise a lot of money to beat Robin Hayes. He just doesn't have to raise as much as Robin Hayes does to win in November. The 2004 election bears this out.
In the 2004 election Beth Troutman spent about $226,000 for 45% of the votes. Robin Hayes had to spend $1,462,000 for 55% of the votes. He has a little over a million on hand now and I'm sure he'll raise at least $1.5 million total. The problem for Hayes is, it looks like the price has gone up.