Don't Bet on Crist Over Rubio

At about this time every three months, we have to endure the typical quarterly fundraising roundups. This one from The Hill shows the problem with the genre, headlined "FEC reports show Crist the man to beat in Florida." This in response to Crist raising an eye-popping $4.3 million in the 2nd quarter, against Marco Rubio's $340,000.

Crist may be a slight favorite in the Republican primary, but money will have nothing to do with why.

I bang this drum pretty often, but ask presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney how far early, high dollar bundler support got them. Or Virginia Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe on how much a 10-to-1 cash advantage is worth.

Underfunded candidates like Rubio don't need more money now. The need an argument. A bulletproof argument from a plausible candidate is worth tens of millions of dollars in any primary, overwhelming a financial advantage of any magnitude. While frontrunners confuse high-dollar fundraising for actual grassroots support, a conclusion that headlines like The Hill's do nothing to discourage, smart underdogs would do right to focus on building an impregnable message advantage. Because that's the part that counts for 90% in any electoral victory.

John McCain's campaign was defunct and broke at this point in the race, without money to pay a pollster. Mike Huckabee had no money. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani spent $60 million plus to win a single delegate, attending fundraisers when he should have been in New Hampshire. A leading Republican strategist recently told me that he wonders whether money doesn't wind up making our campaigns worse while the lack of money makes them better and more focused. Look at McCain with no money, vs. McCain with money (pre-implosion and general election).

Crist's fundraising aside, he's still a relatively popular governor with 100% name ID, and so still the "man to beat." But fundraising trophies don't make it so. Complacency is his biggest enemy.

Crist's campaign is the antithesis of Rebuildness. Of Crist's $4.3 million how much was online? How much came from donations of $100 or less? How many people have signed up on his e-mail list since he announced? How many of his supporters would crawl on glass to see him win?

In running a campaign, that latter kind of support is the kind I want, and I think Rubio has it.

And not only that, but he's a particularly strong and plausible kind of grassroots candidate. He's no Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. Had Crist not stepped in, he'd be considered a top recruit and a rising star. Rubio would easily beat Kendrick Meek in a general election.

We have two uniquely talented people running for Senate in a seat we will probably hold in Florida. Instead of elbowing one aside, we should be grabbing the popcorn and watching this one go the distance.

The primary will be close. Among voters who know both, Crist and Rubio are tied. Crist's money will not buy him more name ID or goodwill; only his bully pulpit as Governor can do that, and he's surrendering it. Meanwhile, Rubio's talents as a candidate, his crossover potential, and his appeal to grassroots conservatives mean he has nowhere to go but up. I still think Crist narrowly wins absent a massive screwup, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Recent elections have not been kind to moneyed "frontrunners."

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The most important question

Since Crist supported Obama's stimulus bill, is he a traitor to be completely written out of polite conservative society, or do you have to criticize Sarah Palin for that to happen?

 

 

 

Thank you!

Thank you for writing this. Christ is exactly the type of middle of the road RINO we do not need right now. I heard Rubio do an interview on the radio this weekend and all I can say is that if more Republicans were out with his (truly) conservative message we will have no trouble winning favor with the public this next election cycle. As it stands if we're still putting forth straw men with identity crisis’s we’re still going to be in a world of hurt. We need strong leaders with clear direction.

Crist vs. Rubio -- you want to sit it out?

Here's where I get confused about conservative activism and the embrace the internet movement:

Crist's campaign is the antithesis of Rebuildness...

How many of [Crist's] supporters would crawl on glass to see him win?...In running a campaign, that latter kind of support is the kind I want, and I think Rubio has it.

Instead of elbowing one aside, we should be grabbing the popcorn and watching this one go the distance...

Don't you want to throw your lot in with the future? Don't we all have to put down the popcorn and start crawling on glass to bring a new future to the GOP? How does conservative grassroots/online activism get up to speed but by getting involved in getting the candidates who represent the future elected, defeating the candidates we reject all the while developing, testing and showcasing new organizational, fundraising and technological capabilities?

Patrick, is not your approach here far too passive?

Where's Jeb Bush (Sr.)?

Great post Patrick......while I agree that Marco can withstand the lopsided fundraising totals (for now), he really needs something to spark his momentum and build on his poor name recognition numbers.  I am curious as to when/if Jeb will formally endorse his "protégé".  Having his son do it as proxy has not done the job......

Wish the Club for Growth would put its money where its ideology is and make an official endorsement as well.  I'm tired of folks waiting to see whether a candidate is "electable" before throwing in their support.....often they wait too long.  Quite the Catch 22!

I love Rubio!!

..He's exactly the kind of candidate the GOP needs to get behind.

MARCO IS GOING TO WIN BIG OVER GOV.CRIST!!!!

     IT'S EARLY. AND WE GOT 13 MONTHS LEFT TILL THE ELECTION. AND BY THEN AFTER ALL THE DEBATES "THAT'S IF GOV.CRIST SHOWS UP?" AND ALL THE CAMPAIGNING MARCO WILL BE DOING... EVERY ONE WILL KNOW WHO MARCO IS. REMEMBER THIS IS A REPUBLICAN PRIMARY AND ONLY REPUBLICANS CAN VOTE! AND WE HAVENT FORGOTTEN GOV.CRIST SUPPORTING OBAMA AND HIS FAILED STIMULUS PACKAGE! YET ALONE ALL THE OTHER LIBERAL THINGS GOV.CRIST HAS DONE! AND ON ELECTION DAY US REPUBLICANS ARE GONNA FOLLOW CRIST ALL THE WAY TO THE BALLOT BOX! MARCO RUBIO IS OUR GUY HE IS A TRUE REPUBLICAN! MARCO IS A SUPER STAR IN THE MAKING AND HE DOSENT GET HIS MONEY FROM BIG DIRTY CORPORATE BUSINESS! MARCO GET'S MOST OF IT FROM THE GRASSROOTS SOMETHING GOV.CRIST CANT DO BECAUSE HE FORGOT THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA! NO? THEN WHY IS HE LEAVING THE GOVENNORSHIP WHEN HE STILL HAS MORE WORK TO DO? WHY? BECAUSE CRIST IS LEAVING FLORIDA IN A MESS TO BE A SENATOR AND VOTE 50% OF THE TIME WITH THE DEMOCRAT'S! CAN ANYONE SAY ANOTHER ARLEN SPECTER????!!!! GO TO WWW.MARCORUBIO.COM AND DONATE GOV.CRIST OUT!! GOP OF BROWARD COUNTY...

Money ain't everything... but is sure it nice when you got it.

I agree with you Patrick that early camapign money doesn't necessarily translate into winning primary contests or ultimate electoral victory.

But money, early or otherwise, is what allows the candidate and campaign to get out the message you see as integral to a win, it affords the campaign the political muscle to buy campaign ads, tie up early and usually more productive but expensive campaign staffers and teams, and affords the campaign the luxury that Obama had --trying to spend half a billion dollars of other peoples' money in six months.  (Of course, that's only trumped by his effort to singularly mis-spend nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money in a year or less).

And I'd add that having a set of sexy, compelling voter-friendly issues isn't a message, either.  I think Rubio has some cute and not too original soundbites... but it ain't a message yet.  He also doesn't have "campaign staff discipline" and that, coupled with money and message, are the three "Rs" of winning campaigns.  When and if Rubio gets a message, a lot of money would help him get that message out and remain competitive.  The only reason he is competitive right now is because most voters of either Party haven't focused on the election or the primary yet.  It isn't because early money isn't useful or that it doesn't have clout.  Geo W won the 2000 primary because he had early money and staff discipline... and a message of strong, innovative leadership with a compelling record in Texas.  He won in 2004 because largely John Kerry had neither campaign staff discipline nor a coherent message,.. I think that ties Kerry to McCain more than the presence (or absence) of money.

As you well know, early money spent wisely is what affords the candidate the opportunity to set the campaign's message, paint your opponent into a box and whether it's money or money plus message that gets you to a win on election day is an interesting debate.

I can tell you that of the statewide and regional camapigns I've been involved with, we'd have liked to have money over message every time... when a message isn't there, creative talent can make one and staff can exhibit the discipline needed to stay on message.  Voters are easily fooled --just look at Obama's killer success in that art form... he's still fooling voters, taxpayers, press and bloggers.

When the money isn't there, it's all about press stunts, stoking the grassroots campaign fires with more and more extreme positions to motivate marginal volunteers and impact voters somehow, some way, some fashion.  The lack of money and presence of a message is what usually identifies lots and lots of the loser's Congressional campaigns -especially for opponents.

If the-chicken-and-the-egg moment in the money-versus-message debate were ever clearier... it's when you look systematically at the long list of losing Congressional campaigns and what lost it for them.  Not Rubio's nor Crist's efforts at this point make the message-versus-money debate conclusive.

Money ain't everything.....

"I can tell you that of the statewide and regional camapigns I've been involved with, we'd have liked to have money over message every time..."

Didn't work out too well for Gov. Romney............

How so, Steve-o?

I think it's worked out absolutely spendidly for Gov Romney... most GOP insiders --and I don't mean the garden-variety of angry Libertarian wanna-bees or farLeft trolls who frequent here-- knew that 2008 was McCain's year to win, lose or draw as the GOP standard bearer.

Romney, the scion of a highly respected political family with American roots that strangle the entire Kennedy landscape at their hideous, warted stumps, was well acquainted with that notion and the GOP insider perspective it was, indeed, McCain's Year for the nomination.  It's why Romney worked so hard to build an incredible, persuasive, intelligent and balanced portfolio with the American public and voters this time around... plus he elegantly and gracefully practiced the ultimate insider's move by stepping aside at the right time (hint hint Hillary, Huck-a-boom, TeddyK in 80 and even the great Gipper in 76) and NOT hinder the Party's likely candidate.

Romney was ready if the McCain Year didn't fall into place... and he's ready to lead the pack for 2012 no matter how hard the LibertarianLoons or SocCons whine for a return of FreddieTwoSnapsThompson or BobbieDaBrainJindhal or SarahLeftMyHeartInWasillaPalin.

Yeah, bozo... Romney made out just fine by all accounts and your ilk will still be seated on the sidelines in the 2012 race too.  Enjoy your well earned view?

I think Romney would agree with Steve

The point being made is that if money was the MAIN reason for success, Romney would have won. Romney spent how much on Iowa and New Hampshire only to lose both contests right out of the gate. If you want to call losing the nomination to a campaign that almost filed for bankruptcy in the summer "splendid" go right ahead, but I have a feeling Romney would rather have won the contest.

As for 2012, Romney's money has kept him around for another shot. He raised more than Palin from Jan to May, but if the GOP primaries were held today, who do you think would win? It will be an interesting dynamic....Romney (in my opinion over Huckabee) finished 2nd last year, but Palin was the VP pick....I wonder who the insiders consider the standard bearer.

If you thought that, you'd be wrong... again (sigh)

Romney was outspent in Iowa AND New Hampshire, xc.  He was also outspent by even long-shot guys like Giuliani in the unique strategy of putting forward focus on Florida and other states.  Romney didn't ahve more money, per se.  He spent it on developing, cultivating and nuturing grassroots when other candidates were grabing for the lights in townhalls attended by 30-20 people.

The point wasn't that money is the main reason for success -that's your spin. 

The point is that if a candidate and his advisers have the choice between big money and a killer message... the smart campaigners will take the money and run since the message is controlled, in large part, by how much money the candidate's team has to drive the message, set the agenda, control the debate, spin the issues, buy up the expensive talking heads and surrogates -as well as other message expenditures.

Look, it's clear you don't know Jack about political campaigns.  Clearly you don't know Jack about Romney or McCain or GOP insider perspectives, either.  That's ok because there are lots of uninformed, defective opinions advanced in this forum.

Did Romney want to win? Sure, of course.  So did Tommie and Freddie Thompson.  So did RonPaul and Huck-a-boom.  When was the last time someone entered a natl political contest and DID NOT want to win, eh?  Stupid point from you, xc.

Did Romney know that McCain had the inside seat toward nomination?  Yes.  Just like McCain knew W did in 00.  Just like Lamar Alexander knew Dole did in 96.  Just like AL Haig and Paul Laxalt knew Bush 41 did in 88.  Just like Howie Baker and George 41 knew Reagan did in 80.  Just like Reagan knew Ford did in 76... and countless others knew Nixon had the "right" to the nomination.

What part of that historical context can't you fathom, xc?  Or is it better for you to remain ignorant and uninformed?

Campaign 101: the ability of a campaign to drive any message is controlled by the capacity to raise money to fund said drive.  Simple enough?  Lesson 2: GOP activists perceive that certain candidates have the inside lap toward nomination --based on past attempts, based on effort to help other GOP candidates, based on the ability to raise money, based on whether or not earlier contests were exited with grace and style over self-interest... did they put the Party's interest in advancing a strong likely nominee over their own self-interest to stoke the ego-fires by staying in after the contest was over?

What part of that basic, simple political campaign lesson can't you fathom, xc?  Or is it better for you to remain ignorant and uninformed?

Want to throw out the RINOs? Become a PC

Loretta Lieber
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Want to effect pressure on the wimpy Republicans and RINOs?  And help conservatives like Marco Rubio beat a squish in the Republican Party?

Then volunteer IMMEDIATELY to become a Republican Party precinct committeeman.  Precinct committeemen elect the leadership within the Party and vote to endorse the Republicans in the primaries.  The more conservatives in the precinct committeemen ranks, the more conservative the leadership and the primary winners will be. 

Here’s a typical example of the situation:  Maricopa County, Arizona.  Includes Phoenix.  About 6,000 precinct committeeman slots exist in Maricopa County for the almost 700,000 registered Republican voters.  Only 2,000 of the slots are filled, and there's about a 50-50 split in the ranks between conservatives and moderates.  Of the 2,000 elected precinct committeemen, only about 800 showed up at the Maricopa County Republican Party Convention this spring to elect the leadership and vote on party resolutions.  ONLY 800 Republicans OUT OF 700,000 registered Republicans were, on that day, “the Republican Party.”  Want to be one of them?  Knowing what you know now, why wouldn’t you want to be one?  If we conservatives could fill just 1,000 of the 4,000 vacancies, we'd have a solid 2 to 1 ratio of conservatives to moderates. 

Nationwide, about half of the precinct committeemen slots in the Party are open.  We could cause a conservative revolution if we could get conservatives to fill those open slots. The current Party leadership would be afraid the “new conservative blood” would throw them out in the next election.  The incumbents would fear that the “new conservative blood” would endorse the best conservative challenger in the primary instead of endorsing them.  The only fear that will motivate them is the fear of losing their jobs.  Precinct committeemen are in the BEST position to make that happen.  So, please, if you care about the future of your country, become a precinct committeeman.  Now!  Go here for some detailed information:

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2009/07/02/the-power-of-small-numbers-a-butterfly-effect/

http://www.redstate.com/coldwarrior/2009/06/30/lets-change-the-world-now-like-the-obamabots-did-or-not/ 

The Maricopa County GOP web site has a good explanation of the precinct committeeman position:   

http://www.maricopagop.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=44

Thank you, 

Cold Warrior 

I am only one.  But I am a conservative Republican Party precinct committeeman and trying every way my feeble brain can think of to recruit more of them as fast as possible. 

American first, conservative second, Republican by necessity.

 

 

 

News on Rubio

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congressdaily/p_20090715_2565.phpSources Say Rubio Reconsidering Senate Race

Florida. Two Republican sources said today that even as former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio campaigns for retiring GOP Sen. Mel Martinez's Senate seat, he has been calling around to top Republican donors and activists in the state to discuss the idea of switching from the Senate primary against GOP Gov. Charlie Crist and into the open-seat race for attorney general, where a serious Republican candidate has yet to emerge.

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