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Russell Moore: Raimondo’s Daunting Fundraising

Monday, April 28, 2014


Don't be surprised if Gina Raimondo is safely in front of her gubernatorial opponents come this summer, believes Russell Moore.

There's a school of thought, with respect to fundraising, which suggests that after a certain threshold is passed, additional funding starts to resemble the law of diminishing returns.

In other words, the money spent begins to have a less and less significant effect, and that time spent on fundraising could be better focused in other areas.

Sour Grapes

Reject this notion. The people who make this argument are, almost exclusively, those people who are getting out-fundraised and, what comes later, outspent. This idea harkens back to Aesop's "Sour Grapes" fable—wherein a fox, after making three unsuccessful attempts at jumping to seize grapes, remarks, "I'm certain those grapes were sour."

When Jesse Unruh, a former prominent California Speaker of the House and General Treasurer, said that "money is the mother's milk of politics", it may not have been the most pleasing truth—but it's a truth nevertheless.

So it was big news this Thursday when the gubernatorial campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo—the two frontrunners in the race—released their fundraising totals for the 1st quarter of the year. Once again, Raimondo proved to be in a different fundraising league than Taveras.

Jaw Dropping

Raimondo raised about $1.1 million in the first quarter. That's jaw dropping. The Treasurer has about $3.3 million in cash on hand. It's safe to say that Raimondo is the most prolific fundraiser in the history of Rhode Island.

By comparison, Taveras raised about $500,000, and has about $1.35 million on hand—according to WPRI.com's Ted Nesi. That means, as things stand now, and I don't see this dynamic changing any time soon, every time the Taveras camp spends $1, Raimondo can spend $2.5.

Theoretically, she can run 2.5 times the commercials, send out 2.5 times the amount of direct mail, hire 2.5 times the amount of campaign staff—you get the idea.

The front-runner

Without doubt, like in business, it's not all about how much you spend. To some degree, it's about how you spend the money. But does anyone think Raimondo is going to spend her campaign cash foolishly?

What makes Raimondo the clear front-runner, to my mind, at this point, is the fact that the recent polling released shows her either in front, or in contention. Assuming those polls are correct, and she's close at this point, if not outright leading, the onslaught of campaign advertisements she'll unleash will only accelerate her race towards capturing the Democratic nomination.

Campaign finance reform

None of this is to suggest that this dynamic is fair, ideal, or even just. Clearly, there's something wrong with a system where the person who can raise the most money is the person who has the advantage towards winning the race.

Raimondo's critics will argue that her campaign contributors from Wall Street donate to her with the expectation of receiving something in return. Human nature being what it is, that may, in fact be the case. But does anyone who believes that really think that the bulk of Taveras' contributors hand him campaign cash saying "do what's best for the common good"?

Let's face it: Rhode Island, and America as a whole, needs campaign finance reform like blood.

Can Pell break through?

But at the same time, if candidates are restricted in their ability to raise campaign cash to too large of an extent—the country will become an oligarchy (even to more of an extent than it already is). If someone raised in Smithfield and from a middle class background can't raise campaign cash to get her message out, only the wealthy are going to be able to run for public office.

Which brings me to Clay Pell—the wild card in the race for Governor. Pell hasn't reported his fundraising numbers yet for this quarter (at least not up until this column's deadline), but fundraising doesn't have the same importance for Pell as Raimondo and Taveras. Taveras and Raimondo don't hail from a privileged background like Pell, who has the ability to self-fund.

Taveras' cruel summer?

Despite that ability, one wonders whether even money, powerful as it is, can propel the Pell campaign to the top. The question still remains whether or not Pell has the personal magnetism and ability to relate to the common, everyday Rhode Islander, that he'll need to win the race.

It will be interesting, as spring moves on and eventually becomes summer, to see the effect that money has on the race and to what extent it moves the polling in one direction or the other. Count me as one who won't be surprised to see it put Raimondo safely in front.


A native Rhode Islander, Russell J. Moore is a graduate of Providence College and St. Raphael Academy. He worked as a news reporter for 7 years (2004-2010), 5 of which with The Warwick Beacon, focusing on government. He continues to keep a close eye on the inner workings of Rhode Islands state and local governments.


Related Slideshow: Gina Raimondo CGF Campaign Donations

A well-connected network of wealthy and powerful donors who have pumped tens of thousands into the campaign coffers of General Treasurer Gina Raimondo are linked to a nonprofit promoted by her office. They include the former chairman of one of the largest toy makers in the world, the nation’s oldest auto insurance company, and other deep pockets from the banking and investment world. Below is a breakdown of all the key donors with ties to the nonprofit, the Capital Good Fund.

Prev Next

Beshar Family Contribution

Total Contribution: $13,500

Jacqueline G. Beshar, Co-Chairwoman of Capital Good Fund

  • 9/27/2011  $1,000
  • 10/3/2012  $1,000
  • 3/4/2013  $1,000


Robert Beshar, Law Offices of Robert Beshar

  • 12/9/2012  $1,000
  • 12/15/2013  $1,000


Peter Beshar, Marsh & McLennan

  • 9/15/2010  $500
  • 8/22/2011  $1,000
  • 9/23/2012  $500


Christine Beshar, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP

  • 12/9/2012  $1,000
  • 12/15/2013  $1,000


Frederica Beshar

  • 10/5/2012  $500


Scot Jones, Groov-Pin Corp. (Husband of Jacqueline G. Beshar)

  • 5/9/2010  $250
  • 6/4/2010  $750
  • 12/05/2011  $1,000
  • 10/3/2012  $1,000
  • 3/25/2013  $1,000
Prev Next

Hower Family Contribution

Total Contributions: $10,000

Lee Hower, Co-Chairman of Capital Good Fund

  • 12/16/2009  $1,000
  • 3/11/2010  $1,000
  • 7/7/2011  $1,000
  • 3/30/2012  $1,000
  • 2/16/2013  $1,000

Heather Hower, Brown University

  • 12/30/2009  $1,000
  • 3/11/2010  $1,000
  • 7/9/2011  $1,000
  • 3/30/2012  $1,000
  • 2/16/2013  $1,000
Prev Next

Tobias Lederberg

Former Vice President of Capital Good Fund

Total Contribution: $5,000

  • 12/21/2009  $1,000
  • 3/30/2010  $1,000
  • 9/23/2011  $1,000
  • 3/31/2012  $1,000
  • 3/19/2013  $1,000
Prev Next

Daugherty Family Contribution

Total Contribution: $4,125

William Daugherty, ANC Sports

  • 6/15/2012  $1,000
  • 3/24/2013  $1,000
  • 11/27/2013  $1,000


Tracy Daugherty, Homemaker

  • 11/29/2012  $125
  • 3/24/2013  $1,000


Note: Tracy and Bill Daugherty are individual donors to CGF.

Prev Next

Jessica Ricci

Member of Capital Good Fund's Board of Directors

Total Contribution: $1,550

  • 10/14/2010  $50
  • 9/30/2011  $1,000
  • 10/31/2013  $500
Prev Next

Citizens Bank

Total Contribution: $10,625

Edward O. Handy III

  • 3/25/2010 $750
  • 9/25/2010  $250
  • 3/28/2012  $500
  • 7/15/2013  $1,000


Maria Carlino

  • 9/27/2012  $1,000
  • 11/22/2013  $500


Donna Brady

  • 3/17/2010  $150
  • 10/5/2010  $250
  • 1/20/2012  $100
  • 7/15/2013  $200
  • 11/7/2013  $100


Barbara C. Garrahy

  • 8/24/2010  $100
  • 10/5/2010  $250
  • 9/12/2011  $250
  • 7/9/2013  $500


Stephen P. Higginbotham

  • 6/22/2010  $250
  • 10/5/2010  $250
  • 12/2/2013  $200


Michael Kennally

  • 9/6/2010  $150
  • 10/5/2010  $250
  • 7/15/2013  $250


James M. Hagerty

  • 5/3/2010  $250
  • 6/29/2010  $150
  • 10/6/2010  $250

Kenneth W. Robinson

  • 10/5/2010  $250
  • 7/15/2010  $500


Joseph Gleason

  • 9/12/2013  $200
  • 11/20/2013  $250


Kenneth B. Martin

  • 7/22/2013  $250


Gregory Kirwan

  • 10/4/2010  $250


Terrence W. Allen

  • 10/5/2010  $250


Anthony A. Botelho

  • 10/5/2010  $250


Gail Ginnetty

  • 9/26/2013  $50
  • 9/30/2013  $100


Peter R. Bakkala

  • 6/22/2010  $125


David Grassini

  • 2/6/2010  $100


Patricia E. Wegrzyn

  • 8/15/2012  $100


Stephen Craven

12/31/2013  $50

Prev Next

Hassenfeld Family Initiatives

Total Contribution: $4,000

Alan G. Hassenfeld

  • 6/23/2010  $1,000
  • 8/17/2011  $1,000
  • 6/5/2012  $1,000
  • 9/5/2013  $1,000
Prev Next

Bank Rhode Island

Total Contribution: $1,375

William C. Tsonos, Bank RI

  • 6/17/2010  $125
  • 9/13/2011  $250


Linda Simmons, Bank RI

  • 6/17/2010  $125
  • 9/12/2011  $250


Emanuel E. Barrows, Bank RI

  • 9/13/2011  $250


Mary E. Leach, Bank RI

  • 6/17/2010  $125


Steven M. Parente, Bank RI

  • 6/21/2010  $125


Robert H. Wischnowsky, Bank RI

  • 6/21/2011  $125
Prev Next

Sovereign Bank

Total Contribution: $2,225

Kevin J. Sullivan

  • 6/24/2010  $1,000


Michael Lee

  • 10/27/2012  $100
  • 12/31/2013  $25
Prev Next

TD Bank

Total Contribution: $1,575

Robert A. Kolb Jr.

  • 6/16/2010  $1,000


John Conte

  • 6/22/2010  $250


Rosalin Acosta

  • 6/30/2010  $150


Scott H. Sanborn

  • 6/22/2010  $125


Amy Beauchamp

  • 9/29/2013  $50
Prev Next

Ariel Investments

Total Contribution: $1,000

John W. Rogers Jr.

  • 9/15/2010  $1,000
Prev Next

New Roots Providence

Total Contribution: $325

Sabina Matos

  • 3/31/2010  $25
  • 6/20/2010  $25
  • 9/12/2011  $250
  • 12/30/2013  $25
Prev Next

Rockland Trust

Total Contribution: $250

William Lavelle

  • 6/24/2010  $250
Prev Next

Social Venture Partners Rhode Island

Total Contribution: $250

Kelly Ramirez

  • 6/6/2010  $100
  • 12/10/2012  $25
  • 9/24/2013  $25
  • 9/30/2013  $100
Prev Next

Rhode Island Foundation

Total Contribution: $100

Carol Einhorn

  • 3/31/2010  $100

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If they steal $$, nobody likes it, if they write a check, nobody likes it, BUT if you get on the phone, attend events & shake many hands, it's still wrong..wth?

Comment #1 by frank bentley on 2014 04 28

Of course, everyone knows that Wall Street tycoons and billionaires are notorious for their philanthropy and public interest. The word Enron immediately brings to mind do-gooding. Why does anyone think John Arnold and the others are interested in Raimondo and in the Rhode Island pension fund and bond funding ---- $$$$$$$$$$? Of course, they are piling money on her and slick PR commercials will follow featuring sweet little children undoubtedly. The media collect the ad revenue. What do the rest of us get?

Comment #2 by Fruma Efreom on 2014 04 28

The newspapers/ media have said how Raimondo can raise money and yes she has $3 million to Taveras's $1.35 million. But check out those who are supporting the "Cook the Books -Cry crisis, now cry catastrophe" Raimondo.

The 3 million mostly came from those who wanted the pension law changed back in 2011....like the now defunct enrage ri (cowards who refused to identify themselves); the biggest hypocrite of all in enrage ri was John "Let's get rid of public pensions" Enron hedgefund investor himself Arnold (who with his wife- both can contribute $100,000 that way) )has donated many thousands to her campaign; the Republicans who are like her (DINOs - she is a democrat as much as the new speaker is-(slick Nick supported RIRSA pension legislation-2011) ) and let's not forget the Wall Street Investors, NY lawyers, ex-NY mayor billionaire Bloomberg who gave Raimondo a thousand dollars a plate fundraiser and the other politicians/pals. lawyers etc., who are loyal to Bloomberg donated to her campaign. You have the hedge fund investors( who do not live, work and pay RI property taxes here) now receiving from Raimondo the 4.5% fees ( as she took away the 3% cola form people who live, work and pay property taxes in RI) plus 20% more profit if their stocks do well ... other donators include Emily's List (EMILY's List is a political action committee (PAC) in the United States that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic FEMALE candidates to office)

EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock said in an interview that the group is looking forward to recruiting Gina Raimondo ( one of about 15 women) who is a pro-choice Democratic women running for office.

Schriock mentioned Rhode Island -- "Gina Raimondo is going to jump in and run, that's another exciting one," she said.

The EMILY President supports hypocrites like Raimondo with campaign assistance, bundled donations from a two-million-strong member list, and independent TV and mail ads.

Let's not forget her millionaire hubby (Andrew Moffit) who was a TFA Texas teacher till he got out of the actual teaching business and entered the more profitable privatization of education world and was college roomie of the now US Congressman Cory Booker of New Jersey...these people and their contacts are supporting their investment- Gina ---You have the corporate wealthy in RI supporting the fraudster, follow the money-you will chambers of commerce on her support list and let's not forget those non public unions who want Raimondo to gove them jobs since the construction industry is hurting in RI. These unions think she will reward their votes with good paying jobs.endorsements below:

•Barrington Democratic Town Committee
•East Greenwich Democratic Town Committee
•Foster Democratic Town Committee
•New Shoreham Democratic Town Committee
•North Smithfield Democratic Town Committee
•Scituate Democratic Town Committee
•Bricklayers' and Allied Craftsmen Local 3
•Ironworkers' Local 37
•Plumbers' & Pipefitters' Local 51
•Plasterers' and Cement Masons' Local 40
•Roofers' and Waterproofers' Local Union No. 33
•Operating Engineers' Local 57
•Sheet Metal Workers Local 17
•United Steelworkers Local 12431

As for these two GA members, Rep. Grace Diaz and Rep. Anastasia Williams, you would think they would have supported their mayor who at least negotiated the union pensions unlike Raimondo who took away the penions and the colas of their constituents with a very risky draconian law.Raimondo should not have been galavanting around the country soliciting funds and contributions these last couple of years when she should have been at her job (salary is being paid by RI taxpayers) getting a higher rate of return for the retirees in the pension system. But being self centered and arrogant, she chose to grab the money while her pension plan was still on the minds of rich contributors who want to wipe out public pension.

With that amount of money in her campaign coffers, she can put on TV, twice the commercials, send out twice the amount of brochures & direct mail, hiretwice as many campaign staffers and with her money, she can try and get the woman vote to which she is lacking because smart females know Raimondo is an arrogant fraud and liar- pushing her image to be middlle class when she is a millionaire- whose father was not blue collar as she pushes, but management and she got to La Salle because the town she lived in had no high school at the time and the town pays for her high school years. And to push that politicall tactic ...that" Josephine propaganda vote for my daughter Gina" letter to get the support of Italian older womanis absurd and laughable.

But then again she has all this money to do what she thinks will get her elected....

Let's prove her wrong, people.Let's send her back packing to NY
She only came back to RI for her own self serving agenda- TO BE GOVERNOR aand of course to do the will of Wall Street- the hedge-fund investors, the corporates and let's not forget the politicians' will in the process.

Comment #3 by joi fons on 2014 04 28

RHode Island just came in SECOND to LAST in a "good place to live" Poll. Yet we still send trust fund babies and others dripping with cash to public office. Nice place for THEM to live maybe.

Comment #4 by G Godot on 2014 04 28

Who cares who wins the democratic primary !! BLOCK is going WIN the general election and become Governor! Haven't you fools had enough of Democrats? LOOK where we are ! who got us here? The good ole Democrats that's who! It's their shitty, liberal policies that have screwed us all! It's costing me more to LIVE and I'm taking home less! IT'S TIME TO CHANGE THE CHANGE!..DON'T VOTE IN ANYMORE DEMOCRATS..THE STATE WON'T SURVIVE!

Comment #5 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 04 30

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