Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Show Her The Money

An article in this morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Challengers trail U.S. House incumbents in funding", shows how seriously we have our work cut out for us:

While Republican challenger Diana Irey accelerated her fund-raising pace in the second quarter of the year, she still trailed far behind U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, the veteran incumbent in the 12th Congressional District.

Entering the final four months of the campaign, Mr. Murtha's campaign committee had a cash advantage of more than 10-to-1 over the Washington County commissioner. The Democrat entered July with $1,804,695, while Ms. Irey had $159,138, according to a digest of Federal Election Commission filings compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Murtha funds include money leftover from his last campaign.

Mr. Murtha had raised a total of $2,452,426 during that election cycle and spent $1,481,352 by June 30. Ms. Irey, who has tried to build a national fund-raising effort based on opposition to the Democrat's anti-war rhetoric, had raised a total of $305,541 and spent $146,403.

While her numbers in every category were dwarfed by her opponent's, Ms. Irey's committee did much better in the last three months than in the first quarter of the year, when her total receipts had reached $74,000.

While lagging far behind the incumbent, Ms. Irey was the best financed of any
congressional challenger in Western Pennsylvania.

Ultimately, of course, it's not about who collects the most money, but about who receives the most votes. This is the toughest challenge that Murtha has had in years, and while it's still an uphill battle, we do have a chance of winning the seat away from him. Making a donation to the Diana Irey campaign will make a big difference, but so will forcing Murtha to spend some of that leftover campaign money from previous years. We don't want him to have to worry about having or needing campaign money after this November.