Update: Well, that didn’t last long: Brown announced yesterday evening that she would not run for Senate, thus nixing her exploratory committee. The point remains that she fundraised more in recent weeks than in any other point of her House career, which not only means she was taking the possibility of a statewide bid very seriously but also suggests that her decision not to run might have to do with her dissatisfaction at the result: $268,000 might be higher than what she usually raises, but it is a third of what Meek reported this quarter.
Original post: Rep. Corinne Brown occupies as safe a district as a Democrat can hope for, and that has allowed her not to worry about fundraising in the past: She raised $27,000 in 2007’s third quarter - the equivalent quarter of the 2008 cycle - and she raised about $63,000 in this year’s second quarter.
Yet, she suddenly picked-up the pace over the past 3 months, raising more than $268,000. That’s quite a noticeable jump: it’s 10 times superior to what she raised between June and September 2007, 3 times what she raised over the second quarter. And as far as I can tell from the FEC website, Brown’s disclosure report this quarter is the longest she has ever filed since public reporting started in the 1990s.
That’s quite a lot of fundraising movement for a congresswoman who is simply preparing a re-election race. So might this be a sign that Brown is serious about running for Senate in 2010? She opened the door to such a bid a few months ago, and she never ruled it out. Do these fundraising figures suggest Kendrick Meek might soon receive serious competition in the Democratic primary?
Retirement speculation for Rell and Young
Governor Jodi Rell and Rep. Bill Young - two Republicans who are facing top-tier challengers. Yet, they are such formidable incumbents that Democrats cannot be sure there’ll even be able to put their seats on the radar screen next year. Unless they retire, that is: The 3rd quarter’s reports suggest that they aren’t putting much thought in their re-election races.
In Florida, Young raised such a low amount - $3,900 - that it’s hard to believe he’s not seriously considering shutting down his political operation. In the second quarter, he had raised $50,155, which was already taken as a sign that he wasn’t running for re-election. Given Young’s senior role on the Appropriations Committee, whose members hardly have to lift the finger to attract donations, raising this little money must have cost him about as much effort as other representatives spent actively fundraising.
Perhaps most tellingly, Young donated $10,000 of his not particularly impressive cash-on-hand to the NRCC. On his FEC’s disclosure form, he wrote this disbursement’s purpose is the “transfer of excess campaign funds.” Now, it’s obviously no surprise for a senior Republican to transfer money to his party’s campaign committee; but in this case, the contribution is more than double Young’s fundraising haul! Another interesting sign: By this point in 2007, Young had raised 5 times as much as he has in 2009 - and he was not facing a competitive race that year.
If he wanted to, Young could easily pick-up the pace, quickly fill his campaign coffers and remind us why few Democrats have dare challenge him for the past four decades. But that’s exactly what is at stake here: Will he want to? After 38 years spent with only rarely having to think about a re-election race, is Young interested in suddenly hitting the campaign trail and working for votes - in a district that went for Obama no less? Needless to say, Democrats are hoping the answer is no.
In Connecticut, Jodi Rell is a rare two-term governor not to have announced retirement. Many others who were not forced out by term limits voluntarily chose not to run for re-election - Pawlenty, Douglas and Doyle. So will she or won’t? The GOP’s prospects of defending this governorship largely rest on that question: If she runs, she is so popular that the odds (and the polls) will favor her no matter who she faces; if she retires, Democrats have to be considered favored.
A look at her 3rd quarter fundraising is enough to suggest that Rell is considering leaving office: She has raised slightly more than $14,000. In the 2nd quarter, she reported receiving about $20,000. And it’s not like she has so much in the bank she does not what to do with it - $82,000 in cash on hand.
It is true that both will be hard for Democrats to defeat, whether or not they have a well-garnished bank account; that puts them in a different situation from an incumbent like Harry Reid, who has little else to take comfort in than his cash-on-hand. That said, both already know they’ll be facing top-tier competition. SoS Susan Bysiewicz and Samford Mayor Daniel Malloy, among others, for Rell; state Senator Charlie Justice for Young. That they are proceeding as if they were running uncontested can’t give Republican strategists much comfort.
Little else to see among other potential retirees
Among other potential Republican retirees are John Shadegg (AZ-03) and Don Young (AK-AL) - both of which raised enough that we can at the very least say they haven’t already decided to call it quits. In Alaska, Young raised about $117,000, nothing to put him at the top of House fundraisers but certainly enough to suggest he is pressing ahead towards 2010. In Arizona, Shadegg raised about $111,000.
On the Democratic side, we have Rep. Bob Etheridge, who is reportedly still considering a Senate run. You might remember that Reps. Joe Sestak and Charlie Melancon’s big 2nd quarter hauls were strong hints that they were preparing statewide bids - and sure enough, both have by now announced they’ll run for Senate. But there is no such sign from Etheridge: The $153,639 he raised doesn’t suggest he is discretely laying the ground works of a Senate campaign, though he does have more than a $1 million stacked up in the bank should he take on Burr.