Friday, January 27, 2012

The Race for NY-23: Redefining the 1%

****WARNING: I'll be talking politics here so feel free to click away if you're afraid getting soiled by association. :)  Full disclosure: I've know Mr. Doheny since our days competing on the baseball fields in Alex Bay. 

Capital Tonight posted Mr. Doheny's - the presumed Republican candidate in NY-23 - fundraising totals for Q4 and they were very impressive.  Just over $306k in the last 3 months.  However, I think it could best be used as a real estate shopping guide.  If you want to know where the swankiest towns on the east coast are just look at this contribution list - Armonk, Rye, Chappaqua, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Bernardsville, NJ, Ridgewood, NJ, Greenwich, CT, New Canaan, CT, and of course NY, NY.  If you're thinking of relocating from upstate NY you'd be lucky to end up in one of these towns.

Well, that's okay you say, that's the nature of the political beast.  You have to raise money whenever and where ever you can.  True, but in my 5 minute review of the forms I only found 2 contributions that would be classified as coming from NY-23.  There were two contributions totaling $5,500 from individuals in Watertown (there was one contribution from East Syracuse but I believe that's outside of NY-23).  Maybe I missed something and if I did I'll be happy to correct it - you can see the full report here.

So doing the math $5,500/$306,000 = 1.8% of Mr. Doheny's fundraising came from local supporters while the remaining 98.2% came from individuals in TX, NJ, NYC, CT, Long Island and Westchester.  So that's the definition of 1% in NY-23 - the % of people that can contribute to a political campaign.

I'll do the same analysis of Congressman Owens fundraising when he releases his information and I imagine the numbers will be similar. 

A critical component of campaign finance reform that I'd like to see would be a limitation to contributing only within your voting district (after we fix Citizens United).  Oh, and can we stop double dipping?  It's clear that many individuals are contributing in the name of their spouse and/or children to avoid the limitations on campaign contributions.

I dream of the day when someone launches a campaign to run as independent for the Broke Party. 

Their platform will be -"I won't spend $1 on this campaign.  No advertising, no fundraising, no buses, no flyers.  Every day I'll host a skype conference call where we discuss the issues.  I'll do it from home so I don't incur any travel costs."

Someone running like that would probably poll around 20% in NY-23. :)

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