POPULISM AND FUNDRAISING.

By Dylan Matthews

Jon Corzine's situation poses some pretty interesting dilemmas for the party's campaign committees during the 2010 cycle. To recap: New Jersey is a solidly Democratic state, and Corzine has been elected statewide twice, the more recent time by a pretty comfortable margin, but he's currently seven points behind his likely opponent, former US Attorney Chris Christie. There are a variety of factor here, not least Corzine's budget woes and Christie's successful prosecution of Sharpe James, but you have to think that Corzine's past as a CEO of Goldman Sachs - and the man who took the firm public, contributing to this disaster - isn't doing him any favors. Populist outrage is a powerful thing, and as former bankers are noticing, it's reaching new heights.

All of which makes for a frustrating situation for groups like the DCCC, the NRCC, the DSCC, and the NRSC. Funds are tight; when disposable incomes fall, and the savings of the upper class take a nose dive, luxuries like campaign contributions fall by the wayside. This would seem to make self-financed candidates attractive, but given how many such candidates would have ties to either finance or real estate, finding ones untainted by the current mess will be hard. And if the uproar reaches a fevered enough pitch, any candidate wealthy enough to fund his own race will have to apologize for that fact. In a pure horse race sense, I'd have to think this tips in the Democrats' favor; they have a good grassroots fundraising model left over from the presidential campaign, which should make up for a fall in big donor support and self-financing. But it'll be pretty hard on everyone.

Advertisement