Gessler Just Keeps Pissing in the Wind

We’ve been fascinated with the campaign of Republican Secretary of State candidate Scott Gessler over the last year, but not in a good way. For most of the last 18 months, Gessler has been spending his campaign cash as fast as he can raise it; in 2009, he brought in almost $87,000 but spent an incredible 86 percent of that money.

Gessler managed to contain himself (somewhat) in the first quarter of this year, raising $53,000 but spending only $38,000, which for Gessler just about qualifies him as Scrooge McDuck. But then there was the reporting period that ended on May 26, a one-month time frame during which Gessler brought in $16,363 but spent $18,045, most of which went to consultants and rent (hint: if you are paying consultants more money than you are raising, you might want to consider changing consultants).

When you add it all up, since he first began his campaign in Q1 2009, Gessler has raised a solid $156,057…yet has spent $130,725, for a cash-on-hand amount today of a little over $25,000. For you math whizzes out there, that means Gessler has spent .84 cents out of every dollar raised, and we’ve only just made it to June.

Folks, we’ve never seen a candidate, for either Party, with a consistent burn rate this high.

Gessler has actually out-raised incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher, but while the latter has brought in abut $137,000, he still has $74,125 cash on hand. That’s just poor campaign management when you have outraised your opponent over the course of 18 months but only have a third as much money in the bank. And that’s what makes Gessler’s campaign one of the worst statewide organizations we’ve seen in the last 10 years.

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  1. sxp151 says:

    that would be 84 cents out of every dollar, not .84 cents out of every dollar.

    Alternatively you could write .84 dollars out of every dollar.

  2. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    He’s running for Secretary of State, not Treasurer.

  3. DomoArigato says:

    I’m not sure I get this entire line of thinking.  If Gessler kept 54% of the money (like Buescher), win or lose, are you implying that would be a good thing?  If Gessler wins this race, will it be inferred his way of campaigning is superior?

     If you just don’t like the guy, that’s fine, at least be honest about.  But people make contributions to candidates to win, not build a savings account for a future race or to give to a non-profit at the end of the campaign.

    And if Buescher only spent a little over half of his contributions AND LOST, wouldn’t his supporters/contributors be really ticked?

    • Ralphie says:

      He’s run for office before.  He knows it’s bad mojo to spend all your money before Labor Day if you’re not in a contested primary.

    • SouthDem says:

      If Pols had written this article on Nov. 1, your comment would have validity.  However, this is the beginning of June.  You shouldn’t be spending like it’s October in May and June.  Pretty basic campaign dogma.

    • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

      Why is this complicated to understand?

      You save every penny you can for big media buys. The vast majority of your expenditures should be made in August-September in order to reach voters. This isn’t rocket surgery.

      Both Gessler and Buescher should, and likely will, spend every last dime before Election Day. The difference here is that Gessler has already spent most of the money he is raising; you can’t go back to those donors and ask for more money.

      This has nothing at all to do with Gessler personally. As we said in the post, we can’t EVER recall a major campaign with a burn rate this ridiculously high. It just doesn’t happen — because you can’t win this way.

      And what the hell is he spending money on? He has no primary, so he doesn’t need to reach out to voters early. This is a low-interest race, where voters don’t really care, so whoever is able to reach more voters in September and October is going to win. Whoever has more money in September and October will have a better chance to reach those voters. Gessler is raising enough money to win — he’s just not spending it wisely.

  4. yankees27 says:

    If you look at the public filings you’ll see that the story has the wrong numbers for Secretary of State Bernie Buescher:

    http://tracer.sos.colorado.gov

    You can see the Buescher actually raised $24,415.00

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