Edwards' Money Situation

As I said back when it came out, if Edwards is really limited to the rules of the public finance system, he is finished.  Having only $50 million through mid-August to go up against a Republican candidate sure to have well over $200 million is a debilitating disadvantage for the Democrats, and one that can be entirely avoided by supporting one of the other candidates.

However, there have been a developments with the story - not all specifically linked to Edwards.

The first is that it turns out there won't be money to pay for the public financing in January.  Instead, candidates will begin to get payments as tax receipts come in, and will probably receive their first disbursements in March, when the nomination will almost certainly have been settled.  While this seems like bad news, it is actually good for Edwards.  If I understand it correctly, it means that he can take out loans in the amount that he would be eligible for, delay or withdraw any request for matching funds until after February 5th (something Howard Dean did, though before Jan. 1), and then only accept the matching funds if he was clearly out of contention and just in need of paying back his loan.  If necessary he can certainly afford to take out loans on his ample personal assets.  John McCain, another guy who is thinking twice about accepting public financing, just did basically all of this.

I don't think anyone was naive enough to actually believe Edwards when he said that this was all about public financing being the right thing to do.  If people were actually snookered by that line, the fact that Edwards is trying to skirt the nomination procedure to start raising money again shoulddisabuse them of that notion.  For me, the whole "public financing is the right thing to do" garbage made him seem like a huge phony.  It still bothers me that the campaign still sticks by that line, all the while acting contrary to it.

  • I am no expert on this issue

    my understanding was that Edwards was locked into taking public matching funds, but if you are right, I am pleased to hear it.

  • Edwards has said he is locked in

    And the FEC announced today that they approved a payment of $8.8 million. So he is definitely going with public financing and accepting the limit, which is a maximum of $50.9 million, I believe.

    If he competes beyond  the early states, he will be broke before March, and without a dime to defend himself from swift boat attacks until September. Kerry had $175 million over the same period in 2004.

    I agree, he is no longer a legitimate candidate for me. Like it or not, campaign finances are critical in selecting a nominee, and Edwards flopped in that regard. They could not meet there stated fundraising goals. That reason, and only that reason, is why they accepted public financing.

    Edwards appears to be playing the spoiler role, which no doubt pleases the establishment.

    • Source?

      Could you point me to where Edwards has said that he is locked in?  I'm not saying I don't believe you, I'd just like to see it.  I agree that he is screwed if he does accept the public financing, but I would like to know for sure whether or not he is stuck now.

      • His campaign said it

        I don't know if I could dig out the exact statement, but someone from his campaign said last week that they were going ahead with public financing, even after the FEC ruled that the  ACT BLUE contributions would not count in the matches. I do not think they have ever indicated that they might change their mind about it. And the FEC approved their application today, so I think it is pretty well set.

      • As reported today

        Here is an article from the Politico that reports on the FEC matching funds:


        "Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, has already taken out a bank loan against the promise of receiving matching funds and, as such, he will definitely accept the matching funds and accompanying spending limits, according to his campaign."

    • A bad candidate could spend $200 million

      during the primaries and still lose the election.

      The DNC and outside groups will be able to raise plenty of money to advertise on Edwards' behalf if he wins the nomination.

      I fear that Obama and Hillary would get beaten by the GOP if they have to run against Huckabee or McCain, no matter how many millions they raise.

      • Not the same

        The DNC has not in recent history put significant dollars into individual campaigns. They barely raise enough to keep the national organization together. The DCCC and DSCC have been doing great in fundraising, but the DNC still is lagging behind the RNC. The DNC will not be a safety net for any presidential candidate.

        Outside groups can spend money, but they cannot coordinate with the campaign and therefore are a poor rapid response to attacks. They can't even fly Edwards around the country or pay for his staff.

        Sure, a bad candidate can lose with $200 million. Look at Kerry. But Clinton and Obama are both much better candidates than Kerry, and they will not be running against an incumbent. Who in the world could the Republicans come up with that could compete with a competent and well-financed campaign by Obama or Clinton? Nobody.

        Edwards is a good person and has the right ideas (at least now, not when he was in the Senate or in 2004). But without money, I do not think he can hold a candle to our chances with Obama or Clinton. And with this choice, I will go with the other change candidate - Obama.

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