Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Did RGA Go Dark on Bevin?

I freely admit I did not see coming the Republican Governors' Association's decision to stop running ads on behalf of Matt Bevin.

My sense is that the race is tight, so I don't think the RGA has abandoned him as a lost cause. Rather, I think that Bevin's fundraising numbers must be bad.

RGA has the money, and almost no other races this year. But the national party organizations like to see the candidate raising his or her own funds rather than waiting for the national money to pour in. The RGA money is sort of like a matched donation in that sense.

Bevin made a big point at the GLI lunch that he would not be beholden to anyone. This rugged independence may be why he hasn't been very aggressive on the fundraising front.

For example, Bevin did not reach out to the big donors one would expect to get a call the day after the primary election until an inexplicable amount of time had passed. There have been a spate of fundraisers for him recently, but it is rather late to be just now asking for contributions.

Jack Conway is in many respects the complete opposite. All he does is fundraise. It's a way to make the campaign look like it's doing stuff without actually mixing with the great unwashed. Apparently Conway doesn't even like to mix with the big donors; at a recent fundraiser, Conway had to  be prodded to get up and work the room of major donors. Not a people person, that Conway.

Bevin has the luxury of being able to self-fund. Not only is the guy rich, the vast majority of his personal fortune is said to be liquid. He needs to write his campaign a big check, stat. Then I would expect the RGA to go back on the air.

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