Our U.S. House candidates’ third-quarter campaign finance reports got me wondering how Tim Bjorkman is shaping up compared to recent Democratic Congressional candidates and his Republican opponents.
The dynamics are different, of course: we haven’t had an open-seat race since 2004. But here’s the Citizens United-era tally for Democrats versus Kristi Noem:
|House Race Contributions||Noem||Dem||Dem/Noem||Dem vote|
The last Democrat to raise more than half of what Republicans poured into their U.S. House candidate in South Dakota was our last incumbent, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
For total cash raised, Bjorkman is in 2016 Paula Hawks territory compared to each of his GOP rivals. Bjorkman has raised 20% of Dusty Johnson’s total and 18% of Krebs’s total. (Hey, did you notice that Krebs in six months has raised more money than Johnson in ten?) But Bjorkman just got started in July, while Krebs started in March and Johnson last November.
If we look just at performance over the same time period, Bjorkman’s $72,459.20 in Q3 is 55% of Krebs’s $132,933.21 Q3 take and 62% of Johnson’s $117,689.07 Q3 take. Given that Bjorkman has drawn no primary challenger yet, he can focus on investing his money to make more money, while Krebs and Johnson will burn up their war chests fighting each other for the next three quarters.
A quiet observer suggested Bjorkman needed to hit six figures in quarter 3 to demonstrate his viability. We’d all like to see more than Bjorkman’s Q3 five figures, and Bjorkman needs to pick up the pace: once the GOP coalesces around one candidate, if they aren’t tired out by their primary, their demonstrated and combined giving potential will leave Bjorkman back around 20% of GOP cash.
Maybe smart campaigning and growing disgust with Trump will make it possible for Bjorkman to win South Dakota’s lone House seat with just one dollar for every two his eventual Republican opponent raises. But to win, I suspect Bjorkman needs to stir Democratic donors to levels of giving (and volunteering! and voting!) of Herseth Sandlin scale.