Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ballard's Campaign Engages in Unprecedented Off-Year Spending, Allows Chief Democratic Opponent Melina Kennedy to Close Fundraising Gap

In my quarter century of watching political campaigns unfold, I've never witnessed anything like the re-election campaign of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

Ballard is having no problem raising money, last year clearing $988,828. But what is shocking and unprecedented, is how much money the campaign is spends in off-years. Last year, the Ballard campaign continued its high "burn rate" practice, spending an astonishing $522,356.

That means the Ballard campaign is spending 53% of every dollar it takes in. What about Ballard's opponent? In 2010, Democrat Melina Kennedy raised $868,000 and spent about $144,000. Kennedy thus spent only 17% of the money she raised.

Comparing apples to oranges, right? Yes, but not the way you would think. It is the challenger who typically has to spend more to do fundraising. An incumbent, especially an incumbent mayor of one of the largest cities in the country, doesn't have to put on fancy fundraisers to get campaign contributions, especially not from city contractors wanting to do business with the city. The Ballard administration has shown it is not shy about raising money from those folks. Ballard's top 10 contributors are all city contractors.

One would expect that Kennedy, without the perks of office, would show a higher expenditure to contribution rate than Ballard. But instead Ballard's spending rate is three times higher than Kennedy's.

It will take some time to thoroughly look through the Ballard and Kennedy's report. But at first glance, it would certainly appear that people are seeing Ballard's pile of campaign stash and they are cashing in. It's the same thing that is gone on in this administration for the past three years. People taking advantage of a naive man who, three years after being elected doesn't know the first thing about how the political game is played.


Downtown Indy said...

He spends his campaign funds like its tax dollars.

M Theory said...

I like the candidate's spending habits better than the mayor's spending habits.

Barnard said...

I worked with Melina before she was in politics. I remember her as an amazingly bright person who was a workhorse! Ironically, one thing I remember about her was her thriftyness. She never like to spend money. It looks like she's carried that over to her campaign so far.