Primaries are different animals than higher turnout general elections. I preach often that campaigns are all about dear ol’ MOM–money, organization and message. When it comes to taking it to the streets, campaigns are more about money and organization. When you have oodles of dough, as Mayor Bill Finch’s reelection campaign enjoys, you can hire a hundred workers to canvass neighborhoods, knock on doors, push an absentee ballot operation, drag Democratic voters to polling places. I don’t envy the person writing the checks before or after election day. Hey, where’s my money!!!
What about cash? Will there be old-fashioned cash in the streets? What, you think campaigns are loaded with boy scouts?
The Finch campaign has done a nice job raising (at last count) more than $300K. A mighty chunk of this will be designated for the streets. That means hiring folks to drive the election-day turnout. The Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, in this type of race, isn’t enough by itself to generate enough of a turnout for the mayor. Why? Finch opponent Mary-Jane Foster will spend at least $225K by Tuesday, a record-breaking total for an incumbent challenger in a city primary. Say what? Yes, no challenger to a mayoral incumbent has raised this type of money, some of it her own moolah. It’s impossible to take on an incumbent without money. Foster’s money has Finch’s attention, irrespective of his operatives’ prediction he’ll blow her away come Tuesday.
Finch’s chief strategist Adam Wood knows he needs more than the 90-member Democratic Town Committee for an effective primary turnout. There may be 90 members but maybe half of them work. Foster’s campaign manager Jason Bartlett doesn’t have Finch’s election budget, but knows he must have folks on the ground in the days leading up to the primary to bolster the turnout for Foster. You cannot win by volunteers alone. How much will each camp devote financially to this effort? We won’t know the final numbers until after the primary, but rest assured it will be enough to pay your mortgage this month, finance a new car and keep the lights on in your house for the next year. This stuff doesn’t come cheap.
And then there’s the subject of political action committees and the role they’ve played and will play on primary day. Paging East End District Leader Ralph Ford, a Finch supporter. What tricks does the good doctor have up his PAC sleeve?