Republican Nominee Carly Fiorina and California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer
In final campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission a month after Boxer’s victory, the senator reported raising just over $28 million and spending almost all of it over the course of the campaign. Fiorina raised $22.6 million and spent more than $22 million, including a $1-million personal loan to the campaign that was repaid.
Fiorina’s tally also included more than $5.5 million that the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive gave to her campaign during the contested GOP primary. Without a primary opponent, Boxer was able to spend most of her money during the general election campaign.
What is the most interesting fact in the reporting is that Carly Fiorina limited her personal wealth damages to around $5 Million, unlike unsuccessful California GOP Gubernatorial canddidate Meg Whitman who blew over $100 plus Million.
Boxer’s campaign had believed that one of their biggest threats was Fiorina’s personal wealth, estimated at between $27.7 million and $121 million in reports filed with the secretary of the Senate. Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said one of the biggest surprises of the campaign was that Fiorina “never wrote the really big check.” The $1-million loan was made during the general election, but was paid back before the end of the campaign.
Without major personal spending by Fiorina, Boxer ended up with an advantage over her foe on television despite the more than $8.8 million in outside ads targeting Boxer that her campaign tracked.
But, Fiorina’s failure to write the “really big check” and to pay herself back $1 Million in loans to the campaign, instead of spending the money on television ad buys will create some angst in Republican circles.
The LA Times reports that Fiorina, who has substantial personal wealth, padded a $5.5 million loan to herself made during her contested primary with a $1 million loan made during the general election. But the second loan was “paid back before the end of the campaign.” Keep in mind: the National Republican Senatorial Committee poured money into that race in the final weeks, including a $2 million buy in the last days.
Apparently, Fiorina had a stop limit on what she was personally going to spend on this race, regardless of the polls, etc. I mean, $ 5 plus Million personal expenditure, is enough money for most couples to comfortably live happily ever after in retirement. If anything, Carly was prudent and political blind ambition did not overcome her common sense – unlike Meg Whitman.
But, pundits will harp that Fiorina should have spent her last dime on the race to beat Boxer – and it would not have made a damn bit of difference. Fiorina lost the race by 10 points ( a million votes) and Whitman who spent many times more on television ads lost by even more. I have discussed the reasons why previously and more television ads may have made some diffference but……probably not.
With her well-financed treasury, Boxer’s campaign was able to spend about $14 million on television advertising during the general election phase — more than half of it in the Los Angeles media market — compared with the $4.8 million spent on ads by Fiorina’s campaign, the final reports indicated.
Carly lost Los Angeles County by almost 700,000 votes (62.2% to 32.2%) and whether a concentrated and DIFFERENT television ad campaign would have made a difference is really speculative.
I do think the national GOP has learned from this California November election disaster though.
Ultimately, all those groups helped Boxer cement her 10-point margin of victory — raising questions about whether Republican groups will be as willing to pour money into another California Senate race, given that they were unable this year to take advantage of the odds in their favor .
“I think we are starting to feel like California is an island nation,” said UC San Diego Professor Thad Kousser. “The national groups have gone back and forth on whether to spend money in California because it costs so much more…. This is yet another example of why national Republican money can simply be wasted in California — and you have wasted a lot of it.”
It is arguable whether a few more $ Millions spent in California would have been BETTER redirected to states like Washington and Nevada where the money would have had a broader reach in smaller media markets with less population. The Washington and Nevada Senate races were certainly closer in outcome than Fiorina Vs. Boxer.
As I have said before, I don’t think too many Republican donors are going to waste their time and money with any California statewide races anytime soon.