Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Confirmed: Les Roberts is 24th District Frontrunner

This news is just in from the New York Liberal blog: The fundraising statistics from the period ending December 31 last year show that Les Roberts is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. As of New Year's Eve, the Friends of Les Roberts campaign had 48,767 dollars in the bank.

How about Michael Arcuri, the Oneida County District Attorney who was, in December, widely assumed to be a strong contender for the nomination? He had just more than one-fifth of the amount raised by the Les Roberts campaign: 10,150 dollars. What can you get for ten thousand dollars these days? Not an effective campaign, that's for sure.

I'm going to borrow the following graphic from the New York Liberal people - don't tell.

Jeff Miller is shown here raising just twenty five dollars, but to be fair to Jeff, he wasn't even campaigning at the time. Yesterday, Jeff Miller bowed out of the race, leaving Les Roberts, Michael Arcuri, and two possible campaigns by Leon Koziol and Bruce Tytler.

Tytler and Koziol may be reconsidering their temptation to jump in the race at this late date, given that they would have to make up almost 50,000 dollars just to be competitive... with the figures Les Roberts had one month ago. Who knows what kind of money the Roberts campaign has gathered since the beginning of the year.

Michael Arcuri will also probably be reassessing his chances of gaining the nomination. What with his campaign victory to a new term as DA just two months ago, and a deficit of over 38,000 dollars compared to Les Roberts, Arcuri will have to work extra hard now to convince the Democratic committees of the 24th District that it is worth their while to endorse him over Roberts. Even the Oneida County Democratic Committee may now be in play.

Add to Michael Arcuri's problems that he has waited until February to really begin campaigning. Arcuri is giving a speech two days from now in Lansing, and he may well face some difficult questions from the members of the Lansing Democratic Committee gathered there.

All this confirms my earlier suspicions about the use of web presence as a good indicator of the health of a campaign. As I've pointed out on a few occasions, the Internet profile of Les Roberts easily overshadows all his Democratic rivals. Anyone who wants to take on Les Roberts now will not only have to contend with their relative poverty of funds, but also with their nearly non-existent online presence.


Anonymous said...

It takes money to run and to win, no doubt about it, but it takes people willing to pull the lever for the candidate more than anything else. Roberts has money but almost none of it comes from NY or the district. Will his next report show a change?

Anonymous said...

$48,000 is respectable for sure. However, it is still at least $30,000 short of what the campaign was leading people on to believe would be raised by the end of the quarter.

Next, much of that money that Roberts has raised has probably come from outside the district which will be needed by any democrat to win. However, is he gonna get the bucks from inside the district?

Something that I sense is overlooked by many of the blogs is the reality of who makes up the district. 28% of registered voters come from Oneida County. Over 30% of registered democrats come from Onedia County. 10% of registered voters come from Herkimer county. Almost 9% of registered democrats come from Herkimer county. 7% of registered voters come from Otsego county with almost 7% of democrats registered in this district coming from that county.

Arcuri has vast name recognition in all of these counties becuase of the television market. People in these counties will know him. Few will know Roberts without extensive advertising which will be financially draining. When 45 percent of all voters come from this market and 47 percent of democrats do than arcuri clearly has an advantage, particularly since he is liked by both democrats and republicans.

Lastly, I fully appreciate the fact that somebody like you has taken the time to create a blog such as this. However, regardless of your intentions it certainly seems as though this is a Roberts slanted blog which is fine if it is labled that way. If you want to be unbiased than a headline such as "confirmed: Les Roberts is 24th District Frontrunner" will not work. Might I suggest a headline such as "Roberts leads fundraising amongst 24th district democrats."

I am a government student and an avid campaign watcher. Right now I can tell you that having a website and raising more money does not always make you a frontrunner and certainly does not guarantee victory(see Howard Dean, who I was a big supporter of). This race will be close and will be tough for democrats to win. It can be done, but who democrats choose should depend on message and substance.

Regardless of which candidate wins it will be imperative for all democrats in the district to rally around the candidate and work diligently to get that candidate elected.

Thank you for your work, but please look at how you word headlines and articles and truly maintain an unbiased site. I have no allegiance to a candidate yet although I have met Roberts and was impressed. I look forward to meeting arcuri at some point and hope that he will also impress me. Regardless of who I eventually decide to support, I (and others like me I'm sure) will look to sites like this for information and news on the campaigns. Thus I implore you to please keep it fair and unbiased and most importantly focus more on the failures of Boehlert.

Thanks for taking the time to start this blog.

24 Independent said...

No, actually, the amount is just what the Roberts campaign has been reporting. That $30,000 extra is what they've gained THIS MONTH, which is not on the filing report.

Okay, you're a government student, so let me ask you the question:

If one candidate has earned 5 times as much money as his next competitor, already has has much more media coverage than any other candidate, is the only candidate with any online presence, is the only candidate to have been touring the district, with events throughout, is the only candidate with a campaign headquarrters, and is the only candidate to have made a formal announcement, how is that candidate NOT the frontrunner?

What other criteria are available to me that I should be measuring?

I'm writing this blog based on what information is available to me. Everything that you're writing about is speculation about what MIGHT be happening.

Your Howard Dean analogy fails, because Howard Dean WAS the frontrunner for a long time. Now, it happens that Dean screwed it up with some poorly planned remarks and maneuvers, but if he hadn't messed up, he may well have become the Democratic nominee.

What you're neglecting to admit is that Les Roberts DOES have name recognition throughout the district already, because of the fame he gained from his work smuggling himself into Iraq. Unlike Michael Arcuri, Les Roberts has national and international recognition. He's been written about in the nation's prime news magazines and quoted in the top newspapers, and his work has been reported on by national television, not just channel 5. Roberts would be a fool not to make use of that.

Look, I'm running a blog here, not a newspaper. I am trying to be even-handed here, but I also have to be honest about what I'm seeing.

I have explained before who I am, and what I do, and that this is not a Les Roberts blog.

But, when the Les Roberts campaign has a huge amount of information available for voters, and the other candidates have nothing, when Les Roberts earns five times as much as the next candidate beneath him, and when Michael Arcuri and Leon Koziol, who were supposed to be campaigning hard, spend an entire month out of sight, what the heck do you think I'm going to be writing about?

I've gone out of my way to contact Leon Koziol, sleuthing out PDFs from his legal career to get his phone number, but his proto-campaign has been as slow as molasses getting back to me.

I've gone to the trouble to find Bruce Tytler's phone number and talk to him, and reported the results here - he won't even make a decision for two more weeks. What am I supposed to report about Tytler, besides the fact that some nasty people are trying to swiftboat him with a whisper campaign of cruel rumors?

Michael Arcuri has not been campaigning. He's been working at the job he was re-elected to do just two months ago. He's making a speech of some kind tomorrow night, and I'll be there to cover it. Until then, there is nothing to say about Arcuri.

I'm not slanting the picture. The picture comes slanted, because Les Roberts has a full campaign up and running at top speed, and the other guys don't.

I can't fairly pretend that it's an open field.

To do so would have the appearance of lack of bias, but it would be wholly inaccurate.

If the other candidates want good coverage, they have to earn it. I've made offers to give them all free publicity, but they are remaining silent and inactive. What do you want me to do, force them to campaign at gunpoint?

Anonymous said...

You seem to be making a common mistake in perception by concluding that since you have heard of a candidate because of his web site and mentions in the NYT, that everyone else has too. Government student is right about Arcuri's much higher recognizability. Even if Roberts has raised money early, he is going to have to spend a lot of it just getting voters to notice that he exists.

24 Independent said...

I'll tell you something, I'm a long time resident of Central New York, and not until my research into this campaign had Mike Arcuri's name ever crossed my radar screen. I'm not from Oneida County, but then again, a lot of Democrats in this race aren't. Arcuri has a problem if he thinks he can rest on his laurels as a just re-elected DA, and coast to victory with no money in his accounts.

More on that no money in Arcuri's accounts thing in a day or two...

Anonymous said...

just so you know that 30,000 dollars is what they were leading people on to believe that they would have. They may have thought they would have it, I don't know, but that is what I understood it to be. Them not having it is not a big deal and for all I know they may have raised it in the last month. Regardless of when or what was said he is still a viable candidate and perhaps it was a mistake. Either way he is a credible person and candidate which nobody distcounts.

Next, to win this district you MUST do well in Oneida County. Roberts does not have much name recognition in that county. Whereas Arcuri has worked as the DA for 12 years there. I read and watch the news everyday, keep up on political happenings everyday, basically I am a political junkie. Never before early December had I read, heard or watched anything about Les Roberts. Like you I had to search the internet to find out about him, most of that was about the Iraq report.

He is an impressive guy and with enough money and time spent in the area may do well. However, your assertation that Roberts is the front runner is fallible at best and just plain incorrect at worst. Yes he has more money now, and yes he has a website now. But be realistic, a campaign is not something that is thrown together easily. It takes time to fully understand the issues, get volunteers and work to earn the backing of local leaders from your party.

If the only measure of how successful a political campaign is when they get a website up than what has our system devolved in to???

Lastly, you don't need more criteria to determine how to measure it. You only need to use a logical approach that takes into consideration the realities of the district.

24 Independent said...

Listen, I never said that the only measure of Les Roberts's frontrunner status is his web site, and nearly complete dominance of the Internet. You know that, and are trying to reduce my statements down to an absurd level to try to make a strawman out of me that is easily dispatched with. That's not an honorable form of argument.

These are the aspects of the performance of the Les Roberts campaign so far that I identified as making hm the frontrunner. You've got to deal with every one in order to claim that Les Roberts is not the frontrunner.

1. First, Les Roberts is far, far, far, far ahead in terms of raising money. In fact, as of the last filing, Les Roberts is the ONLY candidate who had raised ANY money. That $10,150 on Arcuri's filing report turns out to have been a loan from himself to the campaign.

Money means a lot more than spending power. It means that Les Roberts has actually been making connections with voters, whereas Arcuri, even though people knew he was running for Congress, got little reaction. Arcuri's congressional campaign hasn't contacted a single voter successfully enough to get even a dollar.

2. Les Roberts has dominated the media coverage.

3. Les Roberts is the only candidate with a campaign headquarters. Can't have a good campaign without one.

4. Les Roberts is the only candidate to have been touring the district, and making speeches to promote his campaign, and meeting voters as he's done so. Mike Arcuri has yet to step foot outside of Oneida County as a campaigner.

5. Les Roberts is the only candidate to have even written, much less made, a formal announcement speech. Bruce Tytler, Leon Koziol, and Mike Arcuri keep on telling people that they're going to make an announcement in the next two weeks, and that next two weeks keeps on getting pushed back, and back, and back.

6. Les Roberts is the only candidate with any significant online presence. This doesn't just mean that Les Roberts has a web site, whereas the other Democratic candidates don't. It also means that he has dominated the blog coverage.

7. Les Roberts is the only candidate with a reputation that transcends just one part of the district. It's true. Michael Arcuri and Leon Koziol are practically unknowns outside of Oneida County. Les Roberts is not.

8. Les Roberts is ahead in terms of time. Michael Arcuri and the other Democratic candidates have been merely in exploration mode, and have yet to get their acts together. Les Roberts, on the other hand, already completed that phase of his campaign a long time ago, and has been actively campaigning ever since. Les Roberts has about a two month head start on the other Democratic candidates.

In each one of these eight aspects, Les Roberts is ahead. These are all measurable features of a campaign.

Your assessment, though you say it's based on logic, is actually just guesswork. You're guessing that Michael Arcuri has more prominence than Les Roberts in the district, but you don't really know that. You have no facts to prove even that Arcuri is more known in Oneida County than Les Roberts is - even if it is true.

I hope that they teach you in your government classes at your school that a successful campaign must be based in facts, not guesswork.

Your "can't win without Oneida County" claim is built upon a false understanding of how a primary election would work. There is nothing like the electoral college system in the primary that would result in a winner-take-all campaign waged county by county. Les Roberts could very easily come in second among Democrats in Oneida County in the primary, but win the entire district primary by having a majority of the Democratic vote in the rest of the district.

Listen, I'm not saying that things can't change. Of course they can.

I'm asking you to take a look at the facts. The facts are clear: Les Roberts is the current frontrunner, by a wide margin, in the campaign for the 24th District nomination for Congress.