It is interesting to witness the spin from both sides on Brian Bilbray’s narrow defeat over Francine Busby. Steve Benes who is doing an excellent job over at Kevin Drum’s blog writes:
It’s very much reminiscent of Jean Schmidt narrowly defeating Paul Hackett is Ohio’s 2nd last year – a race that the GOP was supposed to win easily went down to the wire, and ended up costing Republicans a fortune. Put it this way: if the GOP has to work this hard just to keep ordinarily – safe Republican districts in November, they better raise more money than they’ve ever raised before.
John Pitney writing for the National Review claims:
In a couple of ways, the outcome was quite remarkable. As of the last FEC report, Busby had raised more money than Bilbray.
Well she did raise over $2 million whereas Bilbray raised only $1 million. Of course, other Republicans running for the Dukester’s former seat also raised a fair chunk of change.
Steve Benes said something about $5 million coming from the RNCC, which was not included in Pitney’s spin – but Jonathan Kaplan suggests a lower figure and notes the DNCC spent a little down south from where I live:
On May 22, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported having spent $1.1 million on direct mail, phone calls, polling and issue ads to help former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). On May 11, the committee reported spending more than $641,000. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $790,000 between May 14 and 20 on television advertising in California’s 50th Congressional District on behalf of Bilbray’s Democratic opponent, Francine Busby.
I listened to Bilbray say why he thought he won and as the AP and CNN put it:
Bilbray made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, proposing a fence “from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico” and restrictions to keep illegal immigrants from collecting Social Security and other benefits.
While Bilbray opposes President Bush’s immigration reform – I suspect Karl Rove is happy that hate and fear still represents a winning strategy for certain Republicans.
Note also that AP and CNN put the figures from the national treasures of each party a little higher than what Kaplan suggested.