Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cegelis Expenditures Well Below Average

I was never much found of math class. But I remember the part about ratios, and that if you have a smaller number to start with the ratio can be manipulated as a smaller number will be affected more considerably than a large number - especially when fixed costs are involved. This method of statistical manipulation seems to me the basis of the circular argument I keep hearing about Cegelis' burn rate. From reading the blogs, you'd expect that she was spending money like a drunken sailor. Yesterday I had this same exchange again with Archpundit, who relayed the following in the comments when I noted Cegelis was taking in enough to sustain her campaign infrastructure:
This is the last way you run a primary campaign. Infrastructure at this point should be an office, a manager, maybe a press person and some field people with the canvassing done by volunteers. You don't need a huge infrastructure--you need to stockpile cash and use as much in kind and donated labor as you can.

It's canvassing, coffee and free press at this point, not spending lots of money. You then build on that by having the money for near the election to do mail and radio and other expenses.

Larry has a much better depth on this subject than I do, so at first I just took him at his word. But then I started thinking about math class and those ratios again and something just didn't seem right.

So I looked at the Q3 expense reports for all the Democrats running for the House in Illinois and a funny thing happened. Cegelis was 33% below average, and only 4 out the 12 Democrats on record have spent less than she had in Q3.

The summary:
Of the 19 Congressional Districts, I could find FEC Q3 filing reports on only 14. Of these, I limited my data to only candidate who had raised at least $50K so as not to completely skew the average to candidates who have raised $2-5K. This left 12 Democratic candidates for the House, of which all save Cegelis were incumbents:
Cegelis expenditures were well below the average
4 in 12 candidates spent less than Cegelis
4 in 12 candidates spent twice than Cegelis
2 in 12 candidate spent three times Cegelis

The Averages:
For this one, I averaged all the expenditures for all Democratic candidates, and then compared these with Cegelis' expenditures as well as Roskam's. I included one average without Guiterrez as for some reason he only spent $2.9K and raise only $3K according to his Q3 report, and again skewing the average a bit. Numbers below are in thousands:
Average of All Dem Expenditures = $69.03
Average w/o Guiterrez = $75.05
Cegelis = $46.4
Roskam = $105.9
The biggest spending Democrat was Rahm Emanuel: $146.5K

Individual Numbers
The chart below reads: District, Incumbent, Expenditures in Thousands, and Candidate. N/R signifies no report for Q3 found and two races are noted as having challengers under $50K raised:
IL-01: D $26.9 Rush
IL-02: D $83.2 Jackson
IL-03: D $27.3 Lipinski
IL-04: D $2.9 Guiterrez (3K raised)
IL-05: D $146.5 Emanuel

IL-06: O $46.4 Cegelis
IL-06: O $105.9 Roskam

IL-07: D $49.7 Davis
IL-08: D $119.9 Bean
IL-09: D $114.9 Schakowsky
IL-10: R N/R
IL-11: R $22.5 Pavich
IL-12: D $46.4 Costello
IL-13: R N/R
IL-14: R <$50K
IL-15: R <$50K
IL-16: R N/R
IL-17: D $141.8 Evans
IL-18: R N/R
IL-19: R N/R

Rahm's Involvement in the Ratio
Cegelis burn rate is high if you only look at the expense/income ratio. Since Cegelis has been effectively cut off from fundraising from large institutional donors thanks to Emanuel trying to shut down her campaign and his sharing her donor base, her funding is at only $160K this year. Emanuel has effectively shut down her campaign's fundraising, then turned around and complained about her fundraising numbers. This is a circular argument. Looking at the other Democrats running for office, it is quickly notable that incumbents are raising quite a bit of money as a benefit of the incumbent effect. But they are spending by and large more money on their campaigns than is Cegelis. If all campaigns need right now, as Archpundit put it, is an office, a manager and maybe a press person, why are these others spending so much more than Cegelis? Why is she being critisized her her spending less than average, and below 9 of 12 other Democrats in Illinois races?

And I'll say this again: How is Duckworth filing petitions, paying for a-list consultants working on her campaign, media outreach sufficient to get her on This Week, and a campaign spokesperson and publicist? All this costs dollars. Big dollars. So how is she paying for it? What is her burn rate? We won't know because she won't file an FEC report until the primary.

Conclusion
There are lies, damn lies and statistics. I feel the "burn rate" argument is just another BS argument because people can't find anything but Cegelis' fundraising to criticize her for. And since Rahm has done his best to shut down Cegelis' fundraising while backing Duckworth - his anointed choice - I'll content the argument is intentional. Since Cegelis is not spending outside the norm for Illinois Democrats running for office, Roskam doesn't have a primary and has spent twice what Cegelis has, and especially since Emanuel spent more than any other Democrat running in Illinois, I'll content this arugment about Cegelis is a bit disingenuous and politically motivated.