The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

July 18, 2012

Kelly fundraising dwarfs Eaton's

GOP incumbent raises $164K in second quarter

By Nick HIldebrand
Herald News Editor/Weekends

WESTERN PA — Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly raised $164,751 for his re-election campaign in the second quarter of the year. That’s nearly twice what his leading challenger, Democrat Missa Eaton, pulled in over the same period and more than she’s raised since the start of the campaign.

Eaton, Sharon, touted her second-quarter fundraising last month, saying the $83,843 she brought in between April  and June indicates strong “grassroots” support for her campaign. She acknowledged that Kelly, Butler, was likely to raise much more.  

There was no similar announcement from the Kelly campaign on Monday, when the campaign finance reports were filed. A request for comment Tuesday yielded the following statement from campaign spokesman Josh Wilson:

"The Kelly campaign is proud of another strong fundraising quarter and has an even stronger quarter lined up for Q3.  We are very confident we will have more than enough resources to run an aggressive grassroots and media campaign this fall."

Kelly’s second-quarter haul brings his total raised this cycle to $843,779. According the report filed with the Federal Election Commission, the campaign has $389,138 on hand. The report indicates $331,995 in debt, all of it owed to Kelly himself for money the candidate lent his campaign for the 2010 race.

Eaton’s total cash raised for the campaign stands at $130,866, with $21,481 on hand. She has lent the campaign a little less than $5,000, all of which was repaid over the last quarter.

It’s no surprise that Kelly has out-raised Eaton. Incumbents usually attract more money than challengers and it’s apparent from the FEC reports that the national Democratic Party has not put money into the race.

Most of Kelly’s money this quarter came from political action committees representing political and business interests. PACs accounted for 62 percent of the money raised, with 38 percent coming from individual contributions. For the entire cycle, PACs accounted for 51 percent and individuals 49 percent.

According to the report and an analysis of Kelly’s fundraising by Open Secrets, a campaign finance website, his largest corporate contributors included Honeywell International, New York Life Insurance, Home Depot, the National Auto Dealers Association, Northwest Savings Bank and Shiloh Ranch Hunting Preserve, a white tail deer farm and private hunting ground in Fenelton, Pa., that offers trophy hunts for “the discriminating hunter.”

Eaton’s finance mix over the quarter indicated 59 percent came from individuals and 41 percent from PACs. For the entire cycle, 67 percent of her cash has come from individual donations and 33 percent from PACs.

Reports indicate her largest PAC contributors are labor unions, including the Communications Workers of America, United Auto Workers, United Steel workers and United Association Political Education, the political arm of the plumbers and pipefitters union. Eaton also raised cash from a number of Democratic candidates’ campaign committees, including state Rep. Mark Longietti, Hermitage, D-7th.

Both campaigns reported spending thousands of dollars to consultants and fundraisers along with expenses for catering, signs, office supplies, rent, travel and other political necessities.

The totals for both candidates are expected to balloon in the months leading up to the election. In 2010, Kelly spent about $1.2 million to defeat then-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, who burned through about $2 million. That doesn’t include hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by outside groups to influence the election.