20 facts of life in politics show why Raimondo’s money matters

August 26th, 2013 at 4:04 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Friend’s-of-Nesi’s-Notes Chris “The Fix” Cillizza and Nathan Gonzales of Rothenberg Political Report have come up with, respectively, 10 immutable rules of politics and 10 things losing candidates say. Both posts are well worth a read, but with Rhode Island heading into a big political year, I thought I’d summarize them:

1. Money is most things … but not everything.

2. No swing voter cares about campaign finance reform.

3. Candidates matter.

4. No politician goes to Iowa by accident. NONE.

5. Saying “no” to a race doesn’t mean you aren’t running.

6. Endorsements (almost) never matter.

7. Negative ads work.

8. All successful candidates use polling.

9. Running for random downballot office ≠ running for major statewide office.

10. Geography matters. A lot.

… and the things losing candidates say …

11. “I’m running a grass-roots campaign.”

12. “The only poll that matters is the poll on Election Day.”

13. “I’m the next [insert big-name politician here].”

14. “I’m not going to run any negative ads.”

15. “I’m not going to accept PAC money.”

16. “My son is running my campaign.”

17. “Money doesn’t win elections, ideas do.”

18. “I’m going to win this race the same way I did when I got elected to the State House.”

19. “People know me.”

20. “My district is different.”

One big takeaway here: don’t listen to anyone who says Gina Raimondo’s money isn’t a big deal. It is. With $2 million in the bank, she can bury Angel Taveras and Lincoln Chafee in negative ads long before the fall campaign draws near – just like Barack Obama did to Mitt Romney. She can also respond to attacks.

People often point out that Frank Caprio spent $2.7 million but came in third in 2010, which is true – if Raimondo runs a terrible campaign, she can spend a lot of money and lose, too. But Chafee spent nearly as much as Caprio ($2.5 million) and won – while a little more money might have won it for John Robitaille. Again, Raimondo’s money does not mean she will win – it just gives her an important advantage in the race.

Or, as former Bruce Sundlun adviser David Preston put it on Twitter recently: “Never heard of ‘too much money’ cited as a campaign problem.”

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8 Responses to “20 facts of life in politics show why Raimondo’s money matters”

  1. rob says:

    Mr. Nesi…..How quickly do we forget! Remember Karl Rowe….he spend zillions of dollars in the last election and came up empty…Yes money matters to some extent…but when a candidate has abandoned their base, received big campaign contributions from out of state fat cats, hung around with hedge fund billionaires, based their projections on questionable financial projections, disregarded the needs of the retired poor and middle class and finally received recognition from far right think tanks for ripping apart a labor/pension agreement(and we are not talking about scott walker here)… how does that candidate expect to win the party’s primary? I don’t think I have ever seen a candidate in my many years of following politics…who has alienated the base as much as the above mentioned in the article…(I can’t even stoop to mention that person’s name)….lets just see what happens in the primary… Mr. Nesi…don’t be blinded by the flash of money….look at what is in a candidates soul…..

  2. Paul Vincent Zecchino says:

    Looks like nanny Bloomberg found himself a proxy by which to take over Rhode Island. He’s recently hinted that he’ll be leaving New York City a nice financial mess. So why didn’t this supposed financial genius work his monetary magic on Manhattan during his twelve years, rather than launch crusades against salt, soda, and the Second Amendment?

    So now he wants to buy his way into Rhode Island thru a proxy protégé of his who unlawfully denies contractually owed COLA’s to retired Rhode Island workers?

    Sawed off napoleons may not be much fun to live under, but at least they make for interesting times, don’t they – in the fullest sense of the Chinese curse?

  3. George says:

    Rob, Sorry Ms. Raimondo is representing the poor, and middle class Rhode Islanders. I know the unions expect to own all democratic politicians but Ms. Raimondo represents all of us. The unions will be fractured in the primary and Mayor Taveras and Governor Chafee will eat each other. She will then smoke Mayor Fung in the general election. Between her election and a constitutional convention Rhode Island might just be saved.

    Hopefully defined benefit pensions (you know the benefits handed out to unions by crooked politicians that screw the taxpayers 20 years down the road) will be things of the past.

  4. Joe says:

    George …..your union bashing would make you a good candidate to work at Wal-mart or maybe the Koch brothers need a new spokesperson….perhaps you would like to go back in time and have child labor, 60 hour work weeks, lousy pay and no health coverage…oh yeah that is exactly what you want……I guess we should do away with social security which is a defined benefit plan…I just don’t understand how some people think…or do they? You watch too much fox(news) noise!!!!

  5. George says:

    Joe, We have child labor laws and a lot of people work 60 hour weeks. They are small business owners and ambitious workers striving to climb the corporate ladder. I only bash unions because they have done a great job of advocating for their cause at the expense of their communities. Detroit may still be bankrupt if it didn’t owe $9,000,000,000 of pension debt, but we will never know. Because it is $9,000,000,000 in pension debt. Don’t get me wrong, the unions are only half of the problem. Crooked politicians are their partners in crime. The fleecing of America has been a team effort. Sorry nobody feels sorry for public retirees that make more in retirement than the current employees.
    And in reply to your example of social security. Yes, lets treat public pensions exactly like we treat social security. The same payout and the same cola freezes. That would be a lot more equitable.

  6. Gillie says:

    Preston is right. Having too much money is never a problem. Spending it badly – as Caprio did — can be. Best way to judge a campaign is to look at the burn rate and see what are they spending $ on and how fast they are spending it.

    I also have to add a campaign truism to the list “Signs don’t vote, people do.”

  7. George says:

    Gillie, Right on and telling your parties very popular leader to “shove it” didn’t help in a very blue state. Chafee was comfortable lying to the unions. He was the one candidate that was going to protect the pensions, remember. As soon as he was elected he stabbed his beloved unions in the back. He wanted to reform the cities pensions too. Ms. Raimondo’s pension reform didn’t go far enough for him. And now he’s sucking them in again. Don’t worry the fools will back him again and create the opening Rhode Island needs for Ms. Raimondo.

  8. [...] 2. A great scoop Friday by RIPR’s Ian Donnis, who unearthed the prospectus for American LeadHERship, the new super PAC created by veteran Rhode Island operative Kate Coyne-McCoy to help elect Gina Raimondo governor. As a super PAC American LeadHERship can raise unlimited amounts of money, though its donors’ identities have to be disclosed publicly. The prospectus offers an interesting preview of one message Raimondo may use in next year’s primary – linking Chafee and Taveras together as part of a “good-old-boy network that has failed to produce results for the state for so long.” That’s a play for women voters inspired by the possibility of Rhode Island’s first female governor, and for fed-up voters unhappy with the state’s current direction. (Though don’t look for Taveras to cede the “change candidate” mantle without a fight.) The creation of American LeadHERship is another signal that a ton of money may be marshaled in support of Raimondo’s candidacy – and that matters, a lot. [...]