Oh, That Donation Was For 2004?

MSNBC is reporting that Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign had $45 million left going into the final days before the election, plus another $7 million in a legal and accounting complaince fund, much of which was never spent.

If Kerry really thought he had a chance to win — and regardless of party affiliation, who didn’t? — why would his campaign sit on millions of dollars that could be spent in places like Ohio and Florida? When it’s a tight race, campaigns are known to spend themselves into considerable debt trying to reach every last voter.

While it’s a sure bet that the full $52 million did not go unspent, I’d wager that a solid $20 million remains in the campaign’s bank account. That could have financed some serious ad buys in the battleground states.

Perhaps Kerry was in the dark about this. I can’t think of many other explanations. He campaigned hard up to the last minute. Kerry even went so far as to remember children who had given their piggy banks to him in his concession speech. In retrospect, it’s like rubbing salt in the wound.

If I’d given my hard-earned money to the Kerry campaign only to learn that it had gone unspent, I would not be happy, especially since there’s no chance of gettin that money back. If I’d seen my son or daughter give up their allowance, I’d been even more upset. They gave to the campaign, and now that money will be used for another candidate or issue, perhaps one the donors don’t even support.

I can only think of one explanation for the unspent money: if Kerry knew he was going to lose and was sure to run again in 2008. Is it possible the campaign’s polling data was much worse than they let on?

  2 comments for “Oh, That Donation Was For 2004?

  1. November 19, 2004 at 2:53 pm

    IIRC, that amount has since been updated to something like $17 million. This was all primary money which he couldn’t spend on after accepting the nomination and accepting public funds. However, he did give a bunch of money to some of the Democratic committee’s. However, he definitely should have given more. I think he also wanted to keep some that he could use towards legal and accounting work, but they collected money for that too.

    All-in-all, quite odd. He has said that he will donate the remainder to Democratic committees.

  2. Ron
    November 19, 2004 at 3:19 pm

    $17 million, eh? Hey, I was pretty close. I estimated $20 million.

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