The Sweep: The Power of Persuasion—and Pragmatism

Campaign Quick Hit

What Does Money Mean: I’m focusing most of this week’s newsletter finishing our deep dive into issue advocacy politics, but figured I should include these charts that have been making the rounds headed into 2022:

If you had shown me these numbers in 2002, I would tell you they are going to map onto who will go on to win their races with amazing precision. Back in the day, the candidate who raised the most money nearly always won. As it turns out, though, money is necessary but not sufficient. Once a campaign has enough money, the returns on election turnout diminish quickly for amounts over that. 

It is impressive that Sen. Raphael Warnock is the top fundraiser in the Senate, but it tells me next to nothing in the modern era about how he will do against Herschel Walker in November. Ditto Mark Kelly in Arizona. And even if we assume that money can serve as a stand-in for voter enthusiasm, the proliferation of online, small-dollar fundraising means that we’d need to take a much closer look at in-state vs. out-of-state dollars coming into these campaigns. 

The biggest takeaway for me is who is on this list who shouldn’t be. Sen. Tim Scott isn’t in any danger of losing in South Carolina, and yet there he is. This will make him one of, if not the, most coveted speaker and fundraiser for other GOP candidates in 2022. It also sets up Scott nicely for his own presidential run in 2024—and makes him the runaway favorite for the VP slot if Trump runs.

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