We all wish it didn’t, but money matters in politics. And Jim Gilmore doesn’t have enough of it.
In the recently ended quarter, Gilmore raised just shy of $400,000 while the presumptive Democratic nominee Mark Warner raised nearly $2.5 million. The difference is astounding considering both men are former Governors. Even more disturbing is Gilmore’s cash on hand, just over $200,000. Warner has $4.4 million. That’s a 20-1 difference. Unbelievable! If I were working on the Gilmore campaign, I’d be worried about my next paycheck.
Gilmore’s challenge to the GOP nomination, Delegate Bob Marshall raised around $50,000. But, he is clearly the underdog in this fight and spent 2/3 of the quarter in Session in Richmond.
I know, I haven’t been the nicest to Gilmore on this blog. But this has nothing to do with him personally. As a Republican, I am deeply concerned as to what this says about the race. And it tells me we are in trouble.
So why does money matter? Gilmore has to do two things to win. First, his high negatives (approaching 50%) mean he needs to drive a positive message about himself. He needs to convince the voters that he’s not such a bad guy. Second, he needs to attack Mark Warner’s record while not driving his own negatives even higher. And both take money. A lot of money.
A candidate for the Board of Supervisors can shake every hand. He doesn’t need much money to win. It’s all retail politics. A State Senate campaign is about 50/50. But a US Senate campaign is nearly 100% wholesale politics—mainly mail and TV ads. All but a very few will decide who to vote for having never meet either candidate.
I am undecided in the contest between Gilmore and Marshall. I’d like a third choice but with every passing day, that becomes less likely. When we go to nominate our candidate, we as Republicans need to give serious thought to Gilmore’s lackluster fundraising. As a former Governor and former RNC Chairman, he should be doing much, much better than this. If the situation doesn’t get remarkably better, Gilmore’s chances of beating Warner will get even worse.