Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Get Out The Bugle

It's time to play Taps for the Lynn Swann campaign.
The final tally is $13,700,000 vs. $3,600,000.
That's not votes. That's the cash Ed Rendell had on hand vs. the cash the Swann campaign had on hand in the campaign finance reports filed yesterday. Here is The Inquirer's piece on the disclosures. As astonishing as Rendell's figure is, the most revealing is Swann's.
In modern politics, the sad fact is that money buys media and media buys visibility. Without money and media you are invisible.
With six weeks left to Election Day, Swann is already is trailing by double digits in the most recent public polls. Now, we learn that he now lacks the money needed to maintain a strong media presence statewide, which can cost $800,000-to-$1 million a week.
You add it up and what does it spell? A fade out of the Swann campaign.
Oddly (cruelly?), it comes at a time when Swann the candidate seems to be doing better. He always had poise and star-power, now he seems more comfortable with the substance side of the equation. In a recent face-to-face with Rendell, he was judged the winner by most folks who saw it. See John Baer's take on Monday's debate before the state Chamber of Business and Industry.
There will plenty of time to pick over why a candidacy that began with such promise in February never really took off.
There is also plenty of time to ponder the implications (pundits love to ponder implications). Here's one question for this morning? Will the Swann fade-out help other Republican candidates? The reasoning is this: Without a vigorous contested race, Rendell voters in the Philadelphia media market have no reason to rouse themselves for their guy. This results in a drop in turnout in places like Philadelphia and the burbs'. A drop in turnout aids Republicans, who otherwise might be swamped my the presence of so many independent/moderate/Democratic Rendell voters. Think Rick Santorum. Think Jim Gerlach & Curt Weldon.
It's called the Law of Unintended Consequences.

P.S. I was in Harrisburg yesterday for the anti-violence rally and the special House session on crime. Here is my piece on those events.

PostScript added at 4:40 p.m. As if on cue, a new Quinnipiac poll was released showing Rendell with a 16-point lead. Here is the AP's take on it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Tom, there are two top races in Pennsylvania this year. And while there may be no urgency for voters to show up for Ed Rendell, there's plenty of urgency surrounding the Casey (or, better put, the Anti-Santorum) campaign.

Bob Casey might not ignite passion among voters, but the prospect of getting rid of Santorum does, even among a good number of SE PA Republicans.

Come Nov. 7, they'll show up. Possibly in record numbers.

7:21 AM  
Blogger rasphila said...

Bob Casey might not ignite passion among voters, but the prospect of getting rid of Santorum does, even among a good number of SE PA Republicans.

I think this is likely to prove right. Rendell has been very far ahead of Swann for some time now, with no obvious effect on the anti-Santorum effort.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

I agree. Rendell is NOT the top race this year, it's Santorum and there are plenty of voters like me who can't wait to get the double pleasure of voting for Casey and against Santorum.

Keep in mind, too, that on the ballot the Federal election leads the ticket meaning Casey-Santorum will be at the top followed by the Congressional candidates, then the Governor and the other state and local candidates.

12:57 PM  

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