Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Herb Kohl FEC Filings Do Not Tip Hand as to 2012 Election Plans

Bookmark and Share

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl's cryptic behavior on Tuesday - that found him refusing to answer a National Journal reporter's question about his 2012 reelection plans - had D.C. playing up another round of will-he-or-won't-he again this week.

Some of the first speculations that Kohl might not run came in late 2010 when he emerged from the third quarter, some two plus years from Election Day, with only $25,725 cash on hand.

That view, however, was premature, given Kohl's past FEC filing history, and how he funds his U.S Senate campaigns.

Six years prior, after the 3rd Quarter of 2004, Kohl's campaign had even less cash on hand - just $20,127.

Then, in the 4th quarter of last year, the Senator injected $1 million into his campaign via a candidate loan, which was then viewed as a sign by many that Kohl was assuredly going to run.

But even if Kohl hadn't loaned himself that money, he still would have had more cash on hand at the end of 2010 ($4,438) than he did at the end of 2004 ($1,493), when he was en route to his largest U.S. Senate margin of victory in his four campaigns to date.

In fact, Kohl's end of the year cash on hand amounts have been pretty low throughout the decade:

Herb Kohl U.S. Senate Campaign Cash on Hand at End of the Year, 2001-2010

Year
Amount
2001
$6,187
2002
$14,474
2003
$14,291
2004
$1,493
2005
$4,147,496
2006
$115,579
2007
$4,649
2008
$4,198
2009
$24,476
2010
$1,004,348
Table compiled by Smart Politics from FEC data.

The problem with making any judgments about Kohl's candidacy, or non-candidacy, based on the amount of money in his campaign coffers is that he does not fundraise like most Senators - due to his large personal financial wealth.

For example, over the last 10 years, Kohl has received only $450 from political action committees (all in 2006) and only $120 from political party committees (also in 2006).

Kohl also doesn't actively fundraise from individuals, receiving only slightly more than $16,000 in total itemized and non-itemized contributions over the last decade.

Senator Kohl has received just $2,077 from individuals for the current election cycle thus far (16 quarters) - about on par with the $3,245 in individual donations he tallied at this stage of the campaign at the end of 2004.

The simple truth is that Kohl regularly injects his own money into his campaign - through a loan or contribution - and has done so in 10 of the 16 quarters during the current cycle since 2007.

In fact, the Senator has contributed to or loaned his campaign amounts of $100,000 or more in eight quarters since 2003.

And thus while the $1 million loan seems like a 'tell' that Kohl must be a candidate in the 2012 race, keep in mind Kohl has loaned himself much larger amounts in the past (although later in the election cycle):

· $2 million in the 1st quarter of 2005
· $2.7 million in the 4th quarter of 2005
· $1.55 million in the 4th quarter of 2006

Overall, since 2001, Senator Kohl has contributed over $925,000 to his 2006 and 2012 reelection campaigns and loaned his campaigns $7.25 million.

What is therefore more determinate of whether Kohl will run in 2012 is not so much the $1 million loan he made a few months ago, but whether or not that money has yet been spent.

The answer to that question will not be known for a few more weeks.

And so, until Kohl officially announces his intent to run, one can only wonder if 2012 will mark the Return of Russ - feeding off the crazed political climate in the Badger State these days.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: What's in a Photo? A Political Analysis of Gubernatorial Portraits
Next post: Klobuchar-Franken Moving Up the List of Oldest U.S. Senate Delegations in Minnesota History

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting