Financial and Political Troubles for GOP Base

John McCain has faced struggles raising funds for his campaign. This problem is becoming epidemic for the Republican Party nationwide, as GOP state parties face severe drops in voter turn out and contributions.

David Paul Kuhn and Charles Mahtesian of Politico report, March 24, 2008:

In some of the largest, smallest, reddest and bluest states in the nation, many state Republican organizations are still reeling in the aftermath of the devastating 2006 election cycle, raising questions about how much grassroots help the state parties will be able to deliver to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

The state party woes are especially ill-timed since McCain will face a Democratic nominee who may be considerably better funded and organized, and since Republicans will be facing an energized Democratic party that is shattering primary election turnout records.

Decline in GOP support is most evident in California and New York. For instance, the number of registered Republicans in California has dropped nearly 207,000 since October 2006. And as recent as February, the California Republican Party were over $200,000 in debt, as opposed to the California Democrats, who had over $5 million dollars.

  • Robert

    And yet, McCain still beats both Democrats in the polls.

  • Is this really a surprise? Six months ago it was total doom and gloom for the Republicans, their party was in shambles, their traditional base had eroded and was in threat of total collapse, and the cash race was and still does overwhelmingly favor the Democrats. Let us not even mention the financial state that McCain’s camp was in at that point.
    The Republicans have a lot of convincing to do, both of the American people in general and prominent folks of business and industry who can bundle large sums of cash and grease the electoral wheels like everyday Americans cannot, that their ideas on running the country are still credible enough to be worthy of more than a token political/financial investment, and to be supported by a large enough portion of the American electorate. Remember last year the stories of big time Bush “Pioneers”, largesum cash bundlers for his campaigns, prominent Wall St. investment bankers and the like, that started fundraising for the Obama? Or the fact that Hillary had then received more money to date from defense contractors than all of the candidates from both parties combined? Not to mention the staggering sums that bth Clinton and Obama have received from individual donors compared to that of McCain and his former rivals. This in itself represents McCain’s major challenge to winning the Presidency, he has to convince the investors that a)he can re-energize (some would say re-invent his base) and b)tha his ideas, Republican ideas, have a broad enough general election appeal and hold more water with the American people than the Democrats, before many will seriously help/invest in him and build the financial machine he will need to win the Presidency. This challenge is compounded by the fact that Obama, his most likely opponent, is going to easily raise 30 million every month or so, at least until September (when we find out if the opt for public financing), and continue to build his massive grassroots/netroots network. McCain has to win in the battle of perceptions in order to gain the requisite financing.

  • Stalin

    Once McCain has someone to run against and the debates and campaings get back into high gear, you will see a flood of money come McCain’s way. 6 months ago, McCain was sitting in coach on a commercial flight with a non-existant staff. He did it once, he will do it again

  • Babs

    Stalin’s right, and I’ll add a little more food for thought here. Perhaps the staggering difference in contributions to the dems as opposed to the Repulicans should raise the question of the real and constant source of Obama and Clinton’s bank rolling. We know that Clinton had to loan her own campaign 5 mil, but Obama is still riding high on what he claims is grassroots contributors. I don’t buy that, and neither should you. I believe it in McCain’s case, but not Obama’s. And if Obama gets the nomination the “revisit” of the public financing issue that he previously commited himself to will turn out to be another of his lies, because without his splashy and very expensive media campaign, he knows he’ll lose badly. McCain should hold Obama’s feet to the fire on the public finance agreement, or expose him as the opportunistic liar that he is. That said, I agree with Stalin, when the lines are drawn in the democratic party, the republicans will then step forward with their checkbook. I predict it will be a thing of beauty to watch unfold.

  • You cannot win this game without the money, McCain is not going to pull a Huckabee-in-Iowa during the general election and win the Presidency on a shoe string, and McCain is woefully behind.
    As far as public financing goes, Obama is gonna be fine. He is gonna be able to raise ton’s of money until the convention (which is at the end of August), if he then opts for financing (if he does McCain will follow suit) all of that money will then go to the DNC or other 527’s groups to support Obama in other ways throughout the general election (if you dont think that is as effective remember the swift boaters). Meanwhile if both of them opt for fianancing it looks as if they will both get about 85 million dollars. I think that 85 million for a little under months in no way hurts Obama, as a matter of fact that is on pace with his spending at this point.
    As far as Obama’s grassroots fundraising, come on people: it is real, go to his website, read independent views on this part of his organization, read the federal governments quarterly reports on candidate fundraisin. Obama has taken the Howard Dean developed model of net fundraising, put it on steroids and has sent it to the moon! The only way it is not true is if the Obama people are lying to the Federal Govt. when reporting his fundraising totals, and while Obama is the consumate politician I do not peg him to be this sort of a liar! Shalom.

  • Stalin


    You really think McCain is going to have to run his campaign on a shoe string budget? Like I said, once we are all done watching the democratic circus and McCain knows who his opponent will be, you will see the full economic might of the Republican party come out to play.

  • Stalin, I think compared to and in proportion to the budgets that Bush and Kerry and Bush and Gore worked with, McCain will have less financial resources this time around in proportion to what all those candidates had. I use the term shoe string loosely as a way to define his cash problems n proportion to say… Obama’s lack of cash problems. Anyway, I think he still has to convince the major Repbulican donors that he can actually win the race (he is startng to do that with poll numbers) so that they will get “full force” behind him, instead of showing tasset support. In short, I think big time donor’s, like the Republican base, has already and are going to suffer from depressed activity and turnout this time around, (this has been a potential problem that Republicans have been chewing on for the last year or so.) For me, the assertion that the big time Republican financial backers are waiting on the Dems to wrap things up hold very little water. Republicans have their nominee and primary process wrapped up and they know they will be facing Obama and/or Clinton come this fall, if they don’t start rallying behind McCain now, when will they?

  • Stalin

    McCain will likely have less money than Bush did in 2004 since there was no Republican primary to throw money at. I think that a lot of people invested heavily in some of the primary losers and it is going to take a little while for them to warm up to McCain…myself included. Time will tell, but I don’t think McCain will be hurting.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    McCain, I think, will always have enough money to get by. I’m not voting for him. I’m a dedicated FredHead.

  • Dreadsen


    Didn’t McCain also commit himself to the public financing program and tried to withdraw from it later?

  • Christopher Schwinger

    Here’s your answer, Dreadsen.

    Follow that link and click on the red words “my rundown” in that introductory segment.

  • Babs

    Dreadsen, I think that he doesn’t want to be held to it in light of the fact that Obama – who agreed to it in writing also – backed out of the agreement during one of his presidential debates on national television. So I think, and it’s just my personal opinion, that if Obama was not going to honor his agreement, and it was obvious he wasn’t, that he would not be handcuffed in the election by being the only one to do so. A case of “Every action has a separate and equal reaction”. Once Obama made it clear in the debate that he really had no intention of honoring his word on the matter, McCain publicly challenged him on the fact that he gave his word in writing, and Obama still didn’t back down. So I think what you’ve seen out of McCain is a reaction, not an action.

  • Dreadsen


    So which debate was it that Obama was questioned about this? And how early did McCain attempt to opt out of the system?
    Because I believed that both of this actions were independent of each other.

  • Michelle

    No real offense to Babs here, but most Mccain supporters and Republicans in general are quick to make declarations based on vague “facts” or opinions. After all, these people support staying in a war that has resulted in more costs (and I am not only speaking dollars) than anyone ever imagined when the only answer is to leave Iraq alone. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that since I know there will be responses to diminish what I’m saying. I’m ready for your rebuttals, with facts. I hope you have some too.

  • Babs

    No offense taken, Michelle, except that I’m not a Republican. =) Dresden, Obama was asked if he would honor the agreement on public financing during the debate between he and Hillary in which Hillary began by whining about being asked the first questions, and making reference to the SNL clip – I don’t have that date handy, but you can find it easily, I’m sure. He hedged on the question. I believe it was during the interview with McCain on 60 Minutes later that he was asked about Obama’s response to the question, and he answered that Obama had signed a piece of paper agreeing to it, and he should honor that. I watch a lot of political videos, but I believe that was the one. According to the article Christopher posted from the Muck Racker about McCain’s letter, I believe I have the sequence correct. If you want to check the dates and I’m proven wrong, I’ll apologize. =)

  • I believe that it was either the debate in Austin, or the debate just prior to that one in which Obama did say that he is gonna have to sit down and work through the issue of public financing when the time comes. Obama did back down on the promise he made over a year ago to commit to public financing, McCain made a similiar decalration around the same time. They both seem like they are waffling on this issue, Obama has essentially punted and decided to re-negotiate his stance and talk his way out the contradiciton, while McCain been trying to shift attention away from the fact that he has backed out of the McCain-Feingold public financing option, an irony a juxtaposition he does not want to have to dig himself out of.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    Here’s something to look at for Michelle here:

    It’s a shame that McCain has soured so many on the Iraq War. He makes it sound like some crazy conquest, then calls the Americans who died there “wasted treasures”, or something like that. He condemns his supporters for criticism of Obama and Clinton, and yet he says nothing about the outrageous Berkeley protests.

  • Dem ’08

    There is so much hope going on in here you should all be Obama fans.

    Hope, pray, scream, bang you heads, no matter what you do it won’t help. McCain is not a person to represent the Rep party. Since he is the Rep nominee your hope is just that hope.
    Even Obama could beat McCain. Hillary or Obama, take your pick.
    Don’t hate on me people. Look this up in November and then talk to me.

  • I most certainly can see how the GOP is lacking in financial resources these days. There’s nothing about McCain that gets me all fired up enough to want to donate to his campaign. I was a Fred Thompson supporter and donated money to his campaign on several occasions and was pleased to do so. McCain is no more a Republican than Hillary is a capitalist.

  • Stalin


    I’m with you. I gave money to Fred too. I’m not real thrilled about giving money to McCain, but the thought of Hillary or Obama in the White House is enough for me to consider a 2nd mortgage.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    Fred was the REAL straight-talker. He didn’t even pay attention to the polls when he was campaigning because he saw the media as it is: a group of petty control-freaks.

  • Michelle

    Stupid typos. Repost:

    Everyone, I really like how you take the time to be involved in our going-ons in our country, although Fred T. I can never really understand. The only Rep I liked was Ron Paul, a smart man with some good ideas (not all, but some).

    As far was the war goes and being “soured” on it, I’ll say this much: no one really gets it.

    Did you know Britian invaded Iraq and was in the exact same spot as us 80 years ago? And the ony way it ended was to leave Iraq alone?

    Did you knows that the Iraq war was the only war that spawned our great country to using torture tactics, something that was always viewed as barbaric? And now we are viewed by the world as babarians?

    did you know that thee are thousands of U.S. soldiers who are not only physically, but mentally ruined by this war, breeding problems for years to come?

    Why, please tell me one good reason WHY, staying in Iraq would be any good for ANYONE. Please, I’m quite curious.