Opinion: The bad sign for Jon Ossoff in his big fund-raising haul

Note: Since I published this, I’ve learned the figures below, on which I based my analysis, aren’t exactly right. In fact, the difference is so great that the original post can’t simply be tweaked. So I’ve written a new post that explains Jon Ossoff’s in-state fund-raising total is actually more than $500,000, not less than $100,000. Please read the full explanation here. My apologies for getting it wrong in the first place.

Much has been made of the fund-raising prowess of Democrat Jon Ossoff, who according to opinion polls is leading the field to replace Tom Price in the U.S. House representing a typically deep-red district. But the news that the vast, vast majority of his money has come not only from outside the district but outside the state is the clearest sign yet that my original theory of how this race will end is still looking pretty good.

My AJC colleagues have done some good reporting on this, but I found the following graphic from the Wall Street Journal to be particularly helpful in telling the tale:

That $8.3 million figure is not like the others, but it isn’t alone. That only 3 percent of his contributions have come from Georgia is astounding — and not in a way that bodes well for him.

First, let’s understand how those “total contributions” and “percentage of out-of-state contributions” figures relate to one another. Only itemized contributions — those donations of at least $200, which require the campaign to disclose the donor’s name and information — can even be calculated as in-state or out-of-state. And Ossoff’s contributions are disproportionately non-itemized: The Republicans listed above all itemized at least 81 percent of their contributions, but for Ossoff it was only 32 percent. The non-itemized donations may or may not be from people in Georgia; we simply don’t know.

But let’s look at what we do know. Now that we’re all clear that the “out-of-state” figure applies only to the itemized donations, let’s calculate how much money each candidate has definitely raised in-state. Here’s what those totals look like for these candidates (rounded to the nearest thousand):

  • Ossoff: about $79,000
  • Hill: about $331,000
  • Handel: about $339,000
  • Gray: about $108,000
  • Moody: about $86,000
  • LeVell: about $34,000

Add up the local-money totals for those five Republicans (out of the 11 Republicans in the field) and you get almost $900,000 compared to Ossoff’s almost $80,000 — a ratio of more than 11 to 1. That’s incredible. Consider also that even a candidate like Moody managed to raise more local money than Ossoff, even though on the whole he has raised 1/25th of the amount Ossoff has (that’s in itemized contributions; the gulf is much larger overall).

Now let’s acknowledge that, from the standpoint of how this may affect the race, money is money — and out-of-state money buys TV ads and pays staffers just as well as in-state money does (or, in the case of a self-funding candidate like Moody, personal loans). That said, if there were truly a groundswell for Ossoff in the district — and not just simply a consolidation by his campaign of the roughly 40 percent of the district that already tends to vote for Democrats in congressional elections — you’d expect to see much more balance* between Republican and Democratic giving locally.

All in all, the financial reporting so far represents another sign the intensity for Ossoff comes mostly from people who won’t get to vote for him.

*One caveat here is that Ossoff could be getting a lot of non-itemized donations from within Georgia. But I’d argue it’s extremely unlikely that Ossoff raised all or even most of $5.7 million in smaller gifts from within the state. It’s far more likely that their proportion more or less mirrors that of the larger gifts.

Reader Comments 0

253 comments
lvg
lvg

A Democrat replacing Price in the 6th would be earth shaking

Starik
Starik

@lvg It would also be very, very gratifying.

someonesdad
someonesdad

@lvg It would be bad for the state.  We already have too many loony Dems in politics here.  This guy is probably loonier than most.

Starik
Starik

@someonesdad @lvg We don't need any more Trump voters in the House.  Most of the Georgia delegation is warped by gerrymandering.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

I tend to agree with the Wingfield "original theory" (GOP runoff winner), which begs the question what will young Mr. Ossoff do with the unspent portion of that $8.3 million?

If he's allowed to keep it then even with a loss his time invested in his campaign will have been richly rewarded.

BDSmith
BDSmith

Oh my God! Can you be more offensive?

BLowE12
BLowE12

@someonesdad Naw... Republicans got that on lock! Just look at the head of the "party" Mr. I grab's and leave em Trump!


That's why they have to make so much money.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

I see Bookman is at it again, trying to convince himself and his loyal following that Repubs can't repeal and replace Obamacare.

He fails to recognize the biggest incentive for Repubs to deliver.

That being, if they don't they can kiss their political arses good bye.

There is no way a Repub up for reelection at the forthcoming mid-term will have an acceptable excuse for not repealing and replacing ACA.

Dems wet their lips at that thought thinking they can take a Repub seat.

Not so, that incumbent will be replaced by a new Repub to see if s/he can keep a promise. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


So lets repeal and replace Obamacare by electing politicians who say they would. And if they don't, lets elect another set of politicians who say they will, and if they don't, lets elect a different set of politicians who say they will, and if they don't ... 

breckenridge
breckenridge

@JohnnyReb 

Spending a couple of years as an army cook no more qualifies you as a policy expert than it does a gourmet chef.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb  ACA has had years to become deeply embedded as evidenced by the millions who are in the program and receiving insurance coverage.

And even the opposition acknowledges that it has some worthwhile aspects. So incremental tweaks, rather than wholesale repeal/replace, seems to be the answer.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Rather than the "weaving car theory", I would characterize Trumps, foreign policy as the "lead sled dog theory". If you're the lead sled dog your view of the landscape is broad, however, if you're trying to lead from behind ( the Obama foreign policy) as a sled dog your view is very confined to...well you get the idea.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@SGTGrit

That would be the Lewis Grizzard theory.

If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

They dropped the big Moe (MOAB) in Eastern Afghanistan. In addition to killing a huge bunch of ISIS fighters it sends a strong message to Kim Jung Loony, Assad, Iran and the Pooter. A new sheriff in town.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit


No different than Obama and his death drones. But Trump needs to compensate for his tiny hands.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle


Trump showing our enemies he is not playing around by displaying excessive force. I get it.


My concern its just a big dog and pony show. What is the strategy in play. Because I don't think our enemies are intimidated like we want to believe.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit  They certainly weren't intimidated for the last 8 years. It's about capability and that's peace through strength. We got away from that doctrine for far too long.

HDB0329
HDB0329

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle ...and that doctrine is what has caused more wars than using logic and reasoning before using force....


Diplomacy does work...IF we decide to use it....

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@HDB0329 @SGTGrit @McGarnagle

Yes, diplomacy works......when you have the abilities and the fortitude to inflict immeasurable harm if your diplomatic efforts are refused.

There also has to be honesty.

Horse face and Susan Rice stated a peaceful solution to Syria's chemical weapons had been reached through diplomacy.

We know know they lied, Syria kept some chemical weapons.

They kept them because they knew Obama would do nothing if they did.

During Obama's presidency there was a fear that, for example, if we were attacked with a nuke, he would surrender instead of retaliating.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle Screwing up Iraq destroyed our credibility. We weren't nearly as capable as people thought we were.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The Washington Post has a story today about kitchen violations at Trump's grub joint down there in Florida. 

Yeah........state inspectors hand out tons of violations of exactly the same kind all across the country every week.  What a  non-story.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@breckenridge


Do all these different places have the president and important foreign leaders dining out of their kitchen.


A semi-important story.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

United had a PR bomb blow up on them with the guy being drug down the aisle to be physically ejected.

They could have chartered a private jet to move the dead heading flight crew hundreds if not thousands of times and not reach what the incident will cost them in settlement and lost revenue due to backlash.

If you deal with the public, a big sign with flashing red lights and sirens is going off to get your attention anytime an incident even approaches physical. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


Interesting that such a childish tantrum would cost a company countless millions and make national headlines.


Makes the argument for civil unrest. If the passenger would have left the plane orderly and filed a complaint. Nothing of this magnitude would happen.



JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

The lunacy of the Left continues to amaze.

Here's hoping voters recognize it as inherent in Dems with Ossoff going down in flames.

And here's a sample.

The Left-wing Daily Beast website posted a comment by their Betsy Woodruff following Sessions speech on immigration enforcement -  “And with that Sessions officially weaponized the Justice Department to crack down on undocumented immigration.”

Think about that.

Our Justice Department consists of  agencies that enforce the law and Sessions is ensuring they do just that.

If Woodruff and her kind do not like the law, then they should work to change it.  Until then, live by the law.


JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb

I agree.

Trump has a big heart, his family is more liberal than he which will influence.

And even the hardest of Cons will wither if confronted with dividing a family who have been good citizens.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


Enforce the law after the same law was not enforced by both political parties for decades.


Its not like turning on a light switch. You got to think about what to do with the illegal immigrants that have build a family and a home here already.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb

I don't disagree with that, however, Sessions speech dealt with illegals currently attempting to enter the country and those who have cases that come before the court.

The idea that police squads would go house to house to round up and then deport illegals is propaganda.

At some point, there will have to be a decision on who should receive green cards.

I expect those you reference to be in that group if they have a clean nose.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle


My concern is even the ones with a "clean nose" can still get deported if they have a traffic ticket or minor traffic violation. They have court cases too.


But the majority (millions) of illegal immigrants do not have a criminal history so we should probably be addressing their status. Republicans are kicking the can down the road by avoiding the inevitable of pathway to citizenship which would send Anne Coulter off a cliff.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb

I don't see an illegal caught up in a traffic case who has no record of wrong doing being deported.  It could happen, but I doubt it.

I also do not see where illegals would be given a path to citizenship.

Green card, yes, citizenship path, no.

If they want to be a citizen, they would have to get in the back of the line but could stay here under the green card.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle


I don't know much about the pros and cons of green card vs. pathway citizenship. But you can get most people on board with that. I rather they do that sooner then later. You will always have illegal immigrants committing crimes. Its not like there will be zero to where they can move onto the next thing.


And that wall is not getting built anything soon.

oldpunk
oldpunk

@JohnnyReb Hard to take you seriously about law and order when the President is violating the Constitution - our highest law - every single day with no consequences.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb

I need to clarify that an illegal recently in the country could get deported even with no record.  It's those who have no record who have been here a while, established a life, where I doubt deportation.

And I agree the sooner the better but I don't see Dems giving up on citizenship which will scuttle the whole thing.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle


That is such a slippery slope to define "been here a while, established a life".


5 years? 10 years? Kids? No Kids? Job? House? Assets? You would be in court for years trying to draw up that definition. And even then you would have people trying to work around it.


And the immigration proposal that Rubio lead a few years ago was pretty decent but it wasn't the democrats who shot it down. It was his own party.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle


I think so too. It had other provisions like paying back taxes and fines. So thought it was a decent compromise.


Either way, seems pathway to citizenship is the deal breaker.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle


Trump does not give me reason to believe he has a warm and fuzzy heart toward Mexican immigrants. Either does Sessions.


Looks to me they are trying to deport as many as possible. Until they have to eventually address immigration reform. Or ignore all together and just keep deporting.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@HDB0329 @JohnnyReb @oldpunk

I suggest you should be more concerned of both Repub and Dem reps and senators who become rich after reaching Congress than a billionaire before taking the office.

It's lunacy to expect his family to give up their livelihood so Donald could be president.

And, Donald has taken care of his involvement.

There was a big news conference on what would happen.

If it was not satisfactory your Dem lunes in the Congress would be on the tube 24/7 crying. 

cynthia shalit
cynthia shalit

@JohnnyReb Trump doesn't live by the law.  There are several laws he has broken , but no one calls him on it, e.g ethical violations-nepotism, conflict of interest. And, not  revealing his tax returns, receiving money from foreign governments, enriching himself from his  position, eliminating regulations that enrich his business investments, but hurt  consumers and the public, advertising his relatives' businesses,  making  people go to his Florida resort-Mar-a-Lago and then doubling the membership fees. 

Starik
Starik

@JohnnyReb @Visual_Cortex Sessions seems to want to divert our resources to enforcing bad immigration laws than prosecuting real crimes.

Starik
Starik

@McGarnagle @JohnnyReb Hispanics are largely conservatives by nature; the Republicans blew it with them by rejecting them in a particularly nasty way. 

BDSmith
BDSmith

You discredit your comment by name-calling and stereotyping the "Left". Your case - and anyone's - is stronger when you can make it without doing those two things.