Rabbit v. Turtle: Heidelberger 67% People-Funded, Novstrup 69% PAC-Funded

[Cross-posted from Dakota Free Press!]

Campaign finance reports confirm what folks have been sensing around Aberdeen about the District 3 Senate race: the Democrat is the campaign turtle, slow and steady, while the Republican is the rabbit, napping most of the year and hoping to make up for lost time with a sudden burst at the end.

For evidence, compare my campaign finance summary with Rep. Al Novstrup’s:

Cory Allen Heidelberger, summary, pre-general campaign finance report, submitted 2016.10.28.

Cory Allen Heidelberger, summary, pre-general campaign finance report, submitted 2016.10.28.

Rep. Al Novstrup, summary, pre-general campaign finance report, submitted 2016.10.27.

Rep. Al Novstrup, summary, pre-general campaign finance report, submitted 2016.10.27.

Including in-kind contributions, the seven-term Republican incumbent has raised 35% more resources than the first-time Democratic Legislative candidate challenging him. Over all but the last fifteen days of he campaign, I have spent 2.54 times as much on reaching the voters. As of our reporting dates (Al Thursday, me Friday), Al had 5.28 times as much money to pour into those final radio, newspaper, Web, and mail ads.

(Cory, the SDSU Jackrabbit, the guy who restrains himself to 180 spoken words per minute on a calm day, as the turtle—revel in that irony!)

Looking at sources of money, Al raised $4,539.38, 20% of his total dollar fundraising, from individual donors. My individual contributions total $7,685.01, 42% of my campaign cash. Al got 69% of his money, $15,550, from PACs. I got 51% of my money, $9,387.59, from PACs, although almost half of that money, $4,647.59, comes from individual donors who contributed through ActBlue, a PayPal for Democrats. ActBlue provides the mechanism for candidates to create an easy online contribution tool (click here and you can see how easy it is!) and disburses the contributions via check every few days. The Secretary of State’s office tells us to report ActBlue checks as PAC dollars, but ActBlue money isn’t really a PAC deciding to give money to a candidate; it’s just a service provider helping individuals contribute to Democrats. By that reasoning, I can argue that I’ve raised 67% of my money from individual donors, while Al is relying 69% on PACs.

Obviously, the Republican and Democratic candidates for District 3 Senate have taken very different approaches to raising money and campaigning in District 3. I invite commentary on the effectiveness of our fundraising and spending.