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Mama Grizzlies Backed Christine O'Donnell Prior to Palin Endorsement

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Female donations to O'Donnell in 2010 up 694 percent prior to Palin endorsement compared to 2008 campaign; women contributing 1 in 3 large donor dollars to O'Donnell in 2010 compared to 1 in 6 in 2008

Although Delaware Republican U.S. Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign was given a large boost in the days before the primary by both an endorsement by Sarah Palin and television and radio ad support by the Tea Party Express, the contours of O'Donnell's 2010 supporters had already looked much different than her failed 2008 Senate bid.

A Smart Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission individual itemized fundraising data through the August 25th filing period finds that large donor contributions by women to O'Donnell's campaign had increased nearly 700 percent over her 2008 campaign through the same period, compared to just over 200 percent among male donors.

O'Donnell's six-point primary upset over nine-term Congressman Mike Castle has buoyed her fundraising efforts to the tune of nearly $2 million in the subsequent five days, or approximately eight times the amount she had raised from 2009 through the tail end of August.

But even before this fundraising surge, and Sarah Palin's September 9th endorsement, O'Donnell had already felt a big bump in support among "mama grizzlies" - Palin's term for women who are fighting to take the country back for conservative policies and principles.

At this stage in her 2008 run against Democrat Joe Biden, women contributed only 15.7 percent of individual itemized funds to O'Donnell's campaign.

In her 2010 campaign, that number has more than doubled to 32.2 percent.

In short, O'Donnell was already receiving nearly 1 in 3 dollars from women before the Palin endorsement, compared to less than 1 in 6 dollars during her 2008 bid.

Large Donor Individual Contributions to Christine O'Donnell's U.S. Senate Campaign by Gender, 2008 vs. 2010

Gender
2008
2010
% Change
Female
$5,540
$43,291
+694.3
Male
$29,250
$91,112
+211.5
Total
$34,700
$134,403
+287.3
Note: Denotes large donor individual funds raised through August 25th of 2008 and 2010 respectively. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

And from where was this money coming?

Interestingly, O'Donnell had also already latched on to the national conservative movement prior to Palin's endorsement - a movement that has benefited so many Tea Party Republican darlings this election cycle.

At this stage of her 2008 campaign, 81 percent of her large donor money was coming from within Delaware, with just 19 percent from out of state.

In 2010, however, 87 percent of her money is coming from out of state, compared to just 13 percent from Delawareans - all this occurring before her Palin endorsement and national media exposure after her primary victory.

As a result, even though O'Donnell launched her 2010 campaign earlier in the cycle than during her 2008 bid, and even though she had nearly doubled her individual large donor receipts in 2010, O'Donnell had actually raised more money from Delaware residents at this point in the election cycle in 2008 ($29,250) than in 2010 ($18,156).

By contrast, 'establishment' candidate Mike Castle had raised 50 percent of his nearly $2 million in large donor individual contributions in the 2010 election cycle from within The First State ($982,533 through August 25th).

O'Donnell's biggest support came from two states, with more than one-third of her large donor money originating from Pennsylvania ($46,600, 34.7 percent) and more than one-fifth coming from Texas ($28,550, 21.2 percent).

Overall, 56 percent of O'Donnell's large donor funds came from Texas and Pennsylvania, compared to just 10 percent for Castle.

Large Donor Individual Contributions to Christine O'Donnell's U.S. Senate Campaign by State, 2008 vs. 2010

Donor
2008
% 2008
2010
% 2010
Delaware
$27,950
80.6
$18,156
13.5
Out of state
$6,750
19.4
$116,247
86.5
Total
$34,700
100.0
$134,403
100.0
Note: Denotes large donor individual funds raised through August 25th of 2008 and 2010 respectively. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

And if any more proof was needed, O'Donnell's outsider status vis-à-vis Castle is cemented by the fact that while Castle raised nearly $70,000 in large donor funds from within Washington D.C., not a single D.C. resident gave such money to O'Donnell's campaign this cycle.

To what extent Palin's endorsement and O'Donnell's primary victory has enhanced her support among the mama grizzly voting bloc around the country will be seen in the next round of FEC filings, due in October.

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Previous post: Run, Murkowski, Run? A Historical Review of Alaskan Statewide Write-in Campaigns
Next post: When Alaska and Delaware Come Full Circle

1 Comment


  • every state race, both for the congress and senate, has national importance...when a congressman in new york (or any other state) affects me in california, i should have a say in that new york congressman's race...when senators are cutting deals and taking money from 49 states that specifically subsidizes 1 state (how about nebraska, louisianna, etc) then those races are evryones business...this country needs to go back to states rights, adhere to the constitution and stop the spending.

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