This, from the Connecticut Post...read the first few paragraphs, please, then entertain the following questions: "What do I think of the idea that out-of-state money is electing my representatives" (1), and (2), "What do I think of the idea of out-of-state money electing anybody, anywhere?
You may read the balance of the article at your leisure; just try to ignore the fact it's about Mr. Dodd, answer the questions, and, if you are devilsadvocate, no wishy-washiness allowed, and, if you are so inclined, no whining about the conditions, either.
If you don't like them, sit this one out.
Only 5 state residents donated to Dodd
Few Connecticut donors giving to senator's campaign
By Peter Urban
Updated: 04/16/2009 11:28:22 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd appears to have looked everywhere but his home state to fuel what pundits anticipate will be one of the most hotly contested races in the nation in 2010.
The five-term incumbent reported raising just $4,250 from five Connecticut residents during the first three months of the year while raking in $604,745 from nearly 400 individuals living outside the state.
While incumbents often turn to special interests for early campaign fundraising, Dodd's out-of-state total seems unusually high and comes at a time when he has been plagued by poor approval ratings among state voters.
Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks federal campaign contributions, said Dodd's low percentage of in-state funding strikes him as unusual.
"Historically, there is no shortage of campaign money that comes out of Connecticut," he said. "In 2008, Connecticut ranked 14th, contributing $53 million to all federal candidates and parties." Ritsch also noted during his last re-election campaign Dodd, a Democrat, raised 30 percent from within Connecticut's borders.
The meager state fundraising effort also seems antithetical to a campaign strategy to rebuild confidence among Connecticut voters that he is on their side.
Indeed, Dodd's campaign manager, Jay Howser, touted the first quarter fundraising effort as evidence of grassroots support based on the senator's work on behalf of Connecticut residents.
"Sen. Dodd is extremely grateful for the support he has received from the hundreds of individuals who donated to the campaign. This lays a solid foundation to build a strong, grassroots campaign that will remind the people of Connecticut that Sen. Dodd has been fighting on their side and will continue to fight on their behalf," Howser said. "There is only one candidate in this race who spends each and every day championing the interests of Connecticut families and working hand-in-hand with President [Barack] Obama to get our economy back on track -- Chris Dodd."
Dodd raised less from Connecticut residents than he did in 18 other states and the District of Columbia, according to campaign finance documents filed Wednesday.
He took in $90,795 from Massachusetts residents, $81,550 from Texas, $56,150 from Maryland, and $53,400 from New York.
Dodd also collected $437,407 from political action committees, including two based in Connecticut that contributed $7,000. He took in $2,271 from individuals contributing less than $200 each.
Overall, Dodd's campaign reported ending the first quarter of 2009 with nearly $1.4 million cash on hand, according to campaign finance documents filed Wednesday.
The $1.4 million gives Dodd a leg up on a growing field of potential Republican challengers who have yet to file financial reports on their campaign fundraising efforts.
The war chest, however, comes at some political cost.
"Normally, it doesn't matter where the money comes from, but Chris Dodd is in a peculiar situation," said Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia. "Dodd would be much better off raising as much money as possible from residents of the Nutmeg State. Everyone knows he's powerful in Washington, but that's what has gotten him into trouble. He needs to reconnect with the people in Connecticut and in-state contributions are a good way to do that."
Dodd's job approval rating -- as measured by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute -- sank to a historic low of 33 percent last month in the wake of the AIG bonus scandal. Many voters surveyed blamed Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, for allowing taxpayer money to be handed out as bonuses to the AIG executives.
The poll, taken March 26-31, also found Dodd trailing in hypothetical matchups for the 2010 Senate race behind three relatively unknown Republican challengers.
Scott McLean, a professor of politics at Quinnipiac University, said the statement from Howser is a political mistake.
"To make the claim that hundreds of individual donors shows he is working for the people of Connecticut doesn't logically follow," McLean said. "Not only is that unpersuasive, it also makes Dodd look even more disingenuous."
As to the fundraising, McLean said no one should be surprised Dodd has turned to outside interests for early support, given his powerful position as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. "He is a powerful leader with a national constituency," McLean said.
As the campaign goes forward, McLean expects Dodd will raise plenty of cash from Connecticut residents.
Gary Rose, a professor of politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, said the campaign statement and fundraising results reinforce the negative image of Dodd as a Washington insider.
"Once again there is a disconnect between the rhetoric of the senator and his political behavior. I think it helps explain why so many Connecticut residents are becoming increasingly disillusioned with him," Rose said. "He is beginning to personify, in many ways, the establishment. He doesn't seem to have that homegrown dimension any longer."
None of Dodd's potential GOP challengers has raised a substantial war chest yet. Their lack of funding, however, should not deter them from entering the race, given Dodd's poor showings in recent voter surveys. Dodd's ability to raise campaign cash also has been hampered by a pledge to avoid contributions from corporations that accept federal bailout money.
He also has blown through nearly $4 million in contributions on his 2008 presidential primary campaign that count against his 2010 race. Because of FEC contribution limits, Dodd's ability to raise additional cash from those individuals and PACs will be sharply limited.
In a giving mood Dodd's five Connecticut contributors: n James McDermott ,of Watertown, an attorney at Holland Knight, $2,000 n Robert Patricelli, of Simsbury, executive at Women Health USA, $1,000 n Elaine Wilson, of Redding, homemaker, $500 n Richard Mulready, of West Hartford, executive at Servus Corp., $500 n George Finley, of South Glastonbury, self-employed consultant, $250 Dodd's two Connecticut-based PAC contributors: n Tudor Investments PAC, Greenwich, $5,000 n General Electric PAC, Stamford, $2,000