The race for Indiana Governor, by the numbers

The Indianapolis Star reported that the race for Governor of Indiana is on track to be the most expensive in history. And while these cookie-cutter stories get dusted off every 4 years, there are a few interesting tidbits in this one.

First, the numbers:

Indiana Governor
Candidate Name Raised Cash on Hand
Mike Pence $1,801,837.02 $4,929,847.43
John Gregg $582,959.61 $1,512,047.64
Rupert Boneham $14,080.43 $5,462.00

Pence’s big-dollar campaign brought in $1.8 million since January 1, on top of the $5 million he raised in 2011. His campaign spent about $571,000 in the first quarter of 2012, for a burn rate of about 32%. The campaign still has nearly $5 million cash on hand, plenty to saturate Indiana with ads redefining the extreme-right-wing Congressman as a regular Hoosier.

Former Democratic state rep John Gregg raised just over $580,000 for the quarter, which adds to the $1.7 million he raised in 2011. The Gregg campaign spent more than $313,000 in the first part of 2012 – presumably on mustache-themed campaign swag – for a burn rate of about 54%. The campaign has just over $1.5 million on hand.

Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham managed to raise $14,000 since the beginning of the year, and has brought in about $30,000 since the start of the campaign – but his campaign spent more than $13,000, for a burn rate of 93%. His team has only $5,000 on hand, with debts of $4,000.

Besides the big cash lead, Pence’s fundraising is growing in large chunks, as the Star’s Mary Beth Schneider reported:

Candidates must report any contributions of $1,000 or more. Those reports show that since the end of the quarterly reporting period March 31, Pence has taken in at least $163,100. Gregg has taken in about $34,500 in additional funds.

Schneider quotes Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, as saying that the winner of the race will probably need to spend around $15 million.

Schneider’s story in the Star provides the context for these numbers:

Campaign finance reports filed Monday showed Pence raised $1.8 million from January through March. That tops the more than $1.66 million Daniels raised in the first months of 2004, when he was making his first run for the governor’s office, and falls just short of the record-setting $2 million that Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan raised then.

And it’s less than the $1.83 million Daniels raised in the first months of 2008, when he was running for re-election.

Veteran Hoosier political watcher Brian Howey reported that some Democrats are unhappy with the Gregg campaign, citing some unquoted grumbling from unnamed Democratic sources. But there were a few facts in there, too. In a subscriber-only story that was temporarily available on the Howey Politics website, Howey noted that the SEIU is missing from the list of Gregg’s donors, despite chipping in $800,000 to the ill-fated Jill Long Thompson campaign in 2008. He also mentioned this troubling tidbit:

Sources tell HPI that the Gregg campaign does not have a finance director. [Gregg’s communications director Megan] Jacobs told HPI that “we have a couple of folks on our team” dealing with fundraising.

He goes on to cite more anonymous speculation that the state party is divided, following the on-again, off-again resignation of Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, and the failed attempt to install Gregg’s preferred candidate as State Chair.

Indiana Democrats gave away the 2008 gubernatorial race without a serious challenge due to intra-party squabbling, even as the tireless organizing of the Obama campaign won the state. The Indiana Democratic Party can’t afford to do the same in 2012.

We fielded 3 strong statewide candidates in 2010, and I’m hoping we can fill the statewide ballot with strong candidates this year – even if some of those candidates won’t be chosen until the state convention.

After all, if there’s anything that should unite Hoosier Democrats, it’s the fact that Mike Pence should never be anywhere near the Governor’s office.