The Fundraising Advantage You Don’t Hear About

Funny, but we don’t hear much of anything about this from any of the networks:

While the Bush campaign has spent more than $86 million on political advertising so far, the official Kerry campaign has spent a little more than $73 million. But when the calculations include the $42.4 million spent on political ads by pro-Democratic 527s, the total Democratic message has outpaced that of the Republicans by $32 million, Smith said.

It’s safe to assume that this would be a screaming-headline “threat to democarcy” if those numbers were reversed, particularly if pro-Bush groups were spending more than half again as much money as the candidate himself. It’s also worth mentioning that these commercial buys are a huge cash cow for the TV networks and stations, one the news departments would be wary of criticizing even if they weren’t in ideological agreement with the leftie 527’s.

That said, with over $115 million spent on ads by and for his candidacy to date, the fact that Kerry has never had so much as a high single-digit opinion poll lead can’t be heartening to anybody on the hate-Bush side.

There’s also this, the Kerry campaign’s plan to “go dark” on advertising buys for the month of August. In the old days, that would be a concession; this year, it’s just a tacit admission that the “independent” 527’s (run by some of the most influential Democratic power brokers in the country) will be doing the Bush-bashing and (maybe) Kerry-boosting in place of the actual campaign.

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15 Responses to “The Fundraising Advantage You Don’t Hear About”

  1. Mike M Says:

    There’s been an interesting TV ad judo going on in Ohio between the campaigns.

    After Kerry had the nomination locked up, he ran a lot of anti-Bush single issue ads and there were a slew of moveon.org and other third party ads that were harshly anti-Bush. Now Kerry is running get-to-know-me ads and the 527’s have faded.

    Bush began with a lot of positive ads, but has switched recently to almost entirely anti-Kerry.

    Kerry is going to have to work very hard to win here. Bush hating won’t play, and he has almost no Democratic elected officials to ally and appear with. I’ve heard he was very late is organizing a campaign staff in Ohio, and it will probably cost him. With the economy improving slowly but surely, time isn’t on his side.

  2. Michael Demmons Says:

    I hear tons of anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage ads, pro-gun, etc. Was this factored into Bush’s numbers??

    I mean, Kerry isn’t the only one who has support from outside organizations.

  3. Will Collier Says:

    Michael, good question. The Roll Call story didn’t mention any. Anybody know of any reporting on Republican-leaning 527 ad buys?

  4. Eric A. Says:

    The Club for Growth has placed an anri-Kerry ad on several of the stations up here in Boston (I presume to reach the southern NH and ME audiences during the DNC, since any hope to influence MA would be tilting at windmills). It’s the “Kerry as a weather-vane” that Rich Lowry mentioned on NRO yesterday.

  5. Erik Says:

    I’ve been expecting something like this. The 527’s have to burn through whatever money they have left in August — they’re legally prohibited from promoting a candidate within 60 days of the election.

    Since Kerry doesn’t have to personally affirm statements made by the 527’s, they play a _lot_ rougher than the campaign itself. Look for a really, really, ugly August.

  6. DiscountBlogger Says:

    THE FUDRAISING ADVANTAGE? (HARDLY)

    Vodkapundit’s Will Collier notes a report that Kerry has spent less than Bush on ads, until you take into consideration the 527 pro-Democratic money that’s been spent – bringing Kerry’s total to about $117 million. Ahmmmm, I think something’s missing…

  7. Steve Keeley Says:

    How does “Fahrenheit 9-11” and “The Manchurian Candidate” figure into those numbers?

  8. DiscountBlogger Says:

    THE FUDRAISING ADVANTAGE? (HARDLY)

    Vodkapundit’s Will Collier notes a report that Kerry has spent less than Bush on ads, until you take into consideration the 527 pro-Democratic money that’s been spent – bringing Kerry’s total to about $117 million. Ahmmmm, I think something’s missing…

  9. Flaime Says:

    There are conservative 527, as well. The Roll Call correspondent appears to be deliberately leaving them out of her story, even though they have spent a fair amount of money themselves.

    And how does the Manchurian Candidate, a remake of an old movie, figure into anything?

  10. Robert Schwartz Says:

    Why doesn’t anybody include the free editorial content of the mainstream media, which have been relentlessly anti-Bush all year in this equation?

    Even discounting for Fox and Rush, its hard to see how Bush can compete.

  11. erp Says:

    What’s the total spent by the networks, the rest of the media, academe, the “entertainment” industry, foreign leaders and media, etc. come to?

  12. MarkD Says:

    That’s another reason why it matters that Tereza hasn’t turned over her income tax record. The public deserve to know how many of these 527s have been receiving money from her or from organizations receiving money from her. At least that’s how newspapers would approach it back when the hired reporters instead of DNC Cheerleaders.

  13. slamurai Says:

    Good point. Kerry has to wait a month to even out his one month disadvantage in federal funds. Let the 527’s do the job.

  14. John Climacus Says:

    Besides Club for Growth I haven’t seen any pro Bush 527s running ads yet. I thought the NRA was supposed to be starting their own broadcasting network or something. You’d think there would be some soft money around for the GOP somewhere.

  15. Jim R Says:

    Check out this article in todays 7/29 NYT:

    “A Delegate, a Fund-Raiser, and a Very Fine Line”

    about Dem Delegate Harold Icke’s 527 fundraising. Very surprising to see in the NYT.

    Okrent’s left bias admission may be having an affect already.

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