O'Rourke released a statement that says,
"I'm very grateful for the support from my fellow El Pasoans. We've out-raised a 16-year incumbent, despite his access to D.C. Special interest and PAC money. El Paso is clearly ready for a representative who will make growing the economy and saving jobs, taking care of our veterans and standing up to special interests his top priorities."
It's not only surprising, its significant.
Congressman Reyes response was:
“It’s no secret that my opponent comes from deep pockets and is supported by wealthy development interests in our city. At the end of the day, however, no amount of money in the world can help cover up his radical agenda of wanting to legalize drugs, raising the retirement age on seniors, cutting housing for disabled people, opposing health care reform which provides free preventative services and helps seniors to pay for prescription drugs.
“The difference between my opponents and me is how we see the value of work. Everything I have, I have worked for and earned. I wasn't born with people owing me anything. Respect and gratitude are earned -- and I have worked very hard to earn the trust of the people, and worked even harder to keep it throughout my time in public office. This election is like no other. Money can’t buy it, only hard work will help win the trust of the people, I will keep working to make sure that every single person is counted and that every person is heard, regardless of how much money my opponents are able to raise, what their income levels are, or which special interest groups are spearheading or backing their campaigns.”
First, here's what's not surprising:
- Its not where he got the money from. The Paso Del Norte Group which was started by his father-in-law according to the El Paso Times has long been tied to O'Rourke. Yes, there were a lot of individual donors on the list, but its also accurate to say that a lot of those individuals were PDNG members. Sure there were a lot of individual contributions (O'Rourke says over 600 individuals) but the big checks came from the big boys.
- Congressman Reyes got a lot of money from PACs. Again, no earth-shattering development there. He is SUPPOSED to have a better relationship with PACs as an incumbent. I'd be surprised if he didn't have that relationship.
- A majority of Reyes' money came from out of town. Again, not a surprise. That probably fits the normal pattern of members of Congress. I doubt very many of them raise more money from in their districts than from outside their district, with the exception of a few honey-holes.
Here's what is surprising:
O'Rourke - $221,704
Reyes - $177,344
O'Rourke got more money than Reyes. ANYTIME a challenger out raises an incumbent, its a big deal. I'm sure the Reyes' will try to downplay it, but it is significant.
But O'Rourke shouldn't count his chickens before they hatch. Its very possible that Reyes hasn't really pushed for the big bucks yet because of redistricting. In fact, it may even be that the PACS are holding off on dishing out cash until after redistricting and election dates are decided.
Thats absolutely what is happening on the state level. The fact that Reyes received more money from out of town also fits the pattern of incumbents in Texas. Ever read a campaign finance report of a member of the Texas legislature? They get more money from Austin than they do from El Paso.
All of them.
Hell, the credible challengers will get more money from Austin than they will from El Paso. Its the nature of the game. You might not like to hear this El Paso, but rich white people in lobbying firms in Austin pretty much pick the winners of campaigns through their contributions.
Don't believe me, follow the money.
So if you cry foul because the money comes from out of town, be consistent with the critique and apply it to members of the delegation, all of whom get more money from out of town than from people in their district.
The 30-day report will be the real indicator of money because they will have to have their resources in the field by then, so that will be the most insightful report.
It appears that Reyes is currently spending more than he is taking in and that's never a healthy sign. No need to panic for Reyes, but they should at the least bit be very concerned.
So now the spin will start from everyone. We are now about to hear the most pointless debate of all time...who's campaign money is worse.
O'Rourke's people will cry foul about PAC money supporting Reyes.
Reyes people will cry foul about rich white business people connected to the PDNG supporting O'Rourke.
Meanwhile Tilghman and Mendoza are going to be sitting on the sidelines wishing they had just one of the big checks Reyes and O'Rourke received.
The tighter this race gets, the uglier its going to be. Mark my words.
TOMORROW...Where did they spend the money?...