Raimondo Dominates Rest Of State In Fundraising
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
While a handful of state lawmakers control the majority of campaign funds within the General Assembly, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is lapping the field when it comes to fundraising among statewide elected officials.
Raimondo, who is widely viewed as the face of the ongoing pension reform debate, was often praised for her fundraising prowess last year when she raised nearly $1 million for the Treasurer’s race despite being a political newcomer.
As of June 30, Raimondo reported having $300,553.63, more than four times that of Governor Lincoln Chafee($71,086.71) and more than three times the combined amount of the rest of the statewide elected officials.
According to Darrel West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., Raimondo’s successful fundraising efforts prove she has the ability to run for higher office. The Treasurer has maintained she wants to focus on her current role before thinking about her political future.
“That is a lot of money for a treasurer at the start of a four-year term,” West said. “It is a testament to her fundraising prowess and an indication she is keeping her options open for future races. She is someone who is doing a terrific job and addressing issues of great importance to Rhode Island voters.”
Raimondo Enjoys Fundraising
Quest Research pollster Victor Profughi agreed with West. He said Raimondo certainly appears to have her sights set on a higher office.
“$300,000 for a Treasurer is certainly a lot of money,” he said. “One does not raise that kind of money if the highest anticipated office is that of General Treasurer. Obviously, she has her sights on something higher, which given the lay of the land, I assume to be governor.”
Profughi said Raimondo appears to enjoy raising money.
“I think she has been successful because, unlike so many candidates I have worked with over the years, she seems to enjoy the task,” he said. “In addition she is a relatively fresh face, very visible, and willing to tackle a tough issue--pension reform.”
Term-Limited Officials Have Little Funds
While Raimondo and to a lesser extent, Chafee, have healthy campaign accounts, the three other statewide elected officials combine to have less than $28,000 in their accounts. The two term-limited elected officials, Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts ($6,060.21) and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis ($1,749.57) have spent little time fundraising.
Profughi said the two will need to step up their efforts if they would like to run for a different office, but noted that 2014 is still a long time away.
“As for Mollis and Roberts, if they intend to seek higher office, they will need to be more aggressive than they have been so far, but 2014 is still quite some distance away and in the really off years, like 2011, most candidates aren't especially active in fund raising,” Profughi said.
Potential Money For Republicans
Profughi also noted that if Republicans are successful in Rhode Island in 2012, they might experience a boost in fundraising moving forward. He said a lot will depend on the Congressional races.
“Results of the congressional races could impact the equation, especially if Republicans should be successful in winning in district one,” he said.
Profughi said the national GOP has been successful in recent months.
“Interestingly enough, August 2011 was the best off-year fundraising month for national Republicans in the history of the party, more than $8 mil,” he said. “Suggests a lot about voter anger [with President] Obama. Money flows with emotions.”
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