Jack Hatch’s campaign finance numbers released this week were eye-popping. And not in a good way, if you’d like to see him become governor.
Hatch, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, raised $269,320 in the most recent reporting period since the beginning of June. That’s around the time Hatch won the party’s primary without opposition. He has $183,142 in the bank. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has $4 gazillion left. The governor’s campaign is now headquartered on the French Riviera. Or, at least, it should be.
This is not good news for Hatch, he typed in understatement bold. It’s not enough money to wage a competitive statewide campaign. It’s not enough money to run some state legislative races. Hatch doesn’t have enough money in the bank to buy this lovely, spacious home on Sunburst Avenue.
In fact, according to a stroll through The Gazette’s archives, you have to go back nearly 30 years to find a Democratic nominee who raised less post-primary.
In 1994, when we thought Branstad was running for his final term, his Democratic challenger, Bonnie Campbell, raised $392,391 between June 1 and July 15. Campbell, according to The Gazette, had $314,348 in the bank, just less than the $323,436 Branstad had after fighting off U.S. Rep. Fed Grandy in a hotly contested primary.
In 1990, Democrat Don Avenson raised $355,010 between his June primary victory and the July reporting deadline. Back then, the campaigns fought over Avenson’s large PAC contributions and the $125,000 Branstad’s campaign planned to spend on some political consultant named Roger Ailes. Avenson hired Joe Trippi and Associates.
Branstad’s 1990 campaign also got a $1,000 gift from some guy named Sam Walton from Bentonville, Ark. Rings a bell.
In 1986, Democrat Lowell Junkins raised $151,389 between May and July. So Hatch beat that by a mile. Campaigns were a little cheaper then. The story notes that the 1982 governor’s race cost about $1.8 million total.
So that’s history. But Hatch’s problem is in the present. Branstad took several shots this year, from hush money allegations to the recent dust up over sheltering undocumented Central American kids in Iowa. Whatever you make of those sagas, there is definitely political hay to be made, if your in the haymaking biz.
But have you seen the highly effective media campaign seeking to capitalize on these openings, these rips in TB’s cloak of inevitability? Of course you haven’t, because the Hatch campaign doesn’t have two dimes to rub together. And with every finance report that passes, there’s no sign that’s going to change.
So, in light of the latest numbers, the 24 Hour Dorman Gubernatorial Race Doneness Index returns to Deep Char. Bon appetit.