Robert Byrd, the longest serving member of Congress, once said, “It is money, money, money! Not ideas, not principles, but money that reigns supreme in American politics.”
There are two undeniable facts for a candidate as they pursue elected office: they must communicate with voters to win an election and that television, radio, direct mail, and a strong digital media presence all cost money. These two facts make a candidate’s ability to raise money an unconditional factor in promoting their message allowing them to gain support and achieve electoral victory.
We decided to test this theory by ignoring differences between the candidates, their districts and their electorates, and make a set of Primary Election predictions for targeted races based solely upon a review of their campaign finance activity. We based the assessment on money raised rather than money spent, due to the 7-day lag in reporting of expenditures and the assumption that each campaign knows their election will be determined on Election Day.
In Oregon, there are five key primaries to watch for the Republican Party:
House District 7 (Roseburg)– Cedric Hayden vs. Gary Williams
Cedric Hayden began the year with approximately $11,000 cash on hand and raised an additional $127,000, for a grand total of $138,000. Gary Williams began the year with $8,000 but has only raised $26,000 since January 1, for a total of $34,000. Cedric Hayden has potentially outspent Gary Williams by $111,000, a difference of more than three times his opponent’s entire campaign fund.
If money is the deciding factor: Cedric Hayden wins 4 to 1, to the tune of 80 percent to 20 percent of the vote.
House District 18 (East Marion County) – Incumbent Vic Gilliam vs. Dave Darnell
Representative Vic Gilliam began the year with approximately $11,000 cash on hand and raised an additional $222,000, for a grand total of $233,000. Dave Darnell has only raised $116,000. Vic Gilliam has potentially outspent Dave Darnell by $117,000, a difference more than his opponent’s entire campaign fund.
If money is the deciding factor: Vic Gilliam wins 2 to 1, to the tune of 67 percent to 33 percent of the vote.
House District 23 (West Marion County) – Incumbent Jim Thompson vs. Mike Nearman
Representative Jim Thompson began the year with approximately $16,000 cash on hand and has raised an additional $165,000 this year, for a total of $181,000. Likewise, Mike Nearman has only raised $83,000. Jim Thompson has potentially outspent Mike Nearman by $98,000, a difference more than his opponent’s entire campaign fund.
If money is the deciding factor: Jim Thompson wins 2 to 1, to the tune of 69 percent to 31 percent of the vote.
House District 25 (Keizer, Newberg, and St. Paul) – Barbra Jensen vs. Bill Post
Bill Post started the year with $3,000 and raised an additional $76,000, bringing his grand total to $79,000. However, Barbara Jensen has raised $92,000 since she launched her campaign in February. Barbra Jensen has potentially outspent Bill Post by $13,000.
If money is the deciding factor: Barbara Jensen wins by 8 points, to the tune of 54 percent to 46 percent of the vote.
House District 58 (Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) – Greg Barreto vs. John Turner
Greg Barreto began the year with $7,000 and has fundraised an additional $160,000 for a grand total of $167,000. John Turner began the year with only $2,000 and raised only $98,000 for a total $100,000. Greg Barreto has potentially outspent John Turner by $67,000.
If money is the deciding factor: Greg Barreto wins in a 26 point landslide, to the tune of 63 percent to 37 percent of the vote.
In Oregon, there are three key primaries to watch for the Democratic Party:
House District 34 (Northwest Washington County) – Brian Tosky vs. Ken Helm
Brian Tosky began the year with $500 but has raised $129,000 since January 1, for a total of approximately $130,000. Ken Helm has raised $120,000. Brain Tosky could potentially outspend Ken Helm by $9,000.
If money is the deciding factor: Brian Tosky wins by 4 points, to the tune of 52 percent to 48 percent of the vote.
House District 41 (Milwaukie) – Deborah Barnes vs. Kathleen Taylor
Deborah Barnes has raised $190,000 while Kathleen Taylor has only raised $135,000, allowing Deborah Barnes to outspend Kathleen Taylor by $55,000.
If money is the deciding factor: Deborah Barnes wins by 16 points, to the tune of 58 percent to 42 percent of the vote.
House District 42 (Southeast Portland) – Rob Nosse vs. Teddy Keizer
Rob Nosse began the year with $52,000 and raised $191,000 this year, for a total of $243,000. Teddy Keizer began the year with $76,000 and has raised $168,000 to-date, for a total of $244,000. Teddy Keizer can potentially outspend Rob Nosse by $1,000.
If money is the deciding factor: Teddy Keizer wins, but triggers an automatic recount.
In the end, we realize that money is not the only deciding factor. The quality of a candidate and their ability to relate to their electorate will largely contribute to the outcome of tomorrow’s election. Nonetheless, money remains a quintessential element in political campaigns as it provides candidates with the necessary resources to communicate with their electorate.