Monday, January 05, 2009

Politics And Money In The Old Dominion 1.0

Last week I expressed my astonishment and misgivings about Seventh District Representative Eric Cantor raising $4.5 million in “campaign” contributions during the last election cycle. Fund-raising at this level is obviously for a lot more than just running for re-election. But money is not just a Republican thing. Just this week I was invited to a special reception for the Honorable Delores McQuinn, candidate for the 70th District House of Delegate seat formerly held by our new mayor Dwight Jones. The reception is scheduled for January 8; two days after Ms. McQuinn will have already been elected to the House. After all, she is running unopposed. Just so everybody understands that this is not just an opportunity to shake hands with the new Delegate, the invitation indicates the following range of “contributions:” Friend--$150.00; Patron--$250.00; Sponsor--$500.00; and Benefactor--$1,000.00.

Now, if Ms. McQuinn’s election were being contested and if this was two or three weeks ago, I would understand the need for this fund raiser. But, as this morning’s article in the Times-Dispatch indicates, Ms. McQuinn is not taking this election for granted. 1 According to TD reporter Olympia Meola, Ms. McQuinn’s campaign raised more than $36,000 in December, of which more than $27,000 was spent—all for an uncontested election. Now it appears that Ms. McQuinn needs even more money. Obviously, Ms McQuinn does not need the money to get elected. She will already be elected by the time of the fund-raiser. So, what is this money for? Well, for one, Ms. McQuinn will have to run for re-election next year. But, that’s ten months away. Why the need for a fundraiser now?

As is becoming more and more apparent to this maven, members of Congress and members of the General Assembly need a minimum amount of money in their campaign accounts just to garner any respect. Any senator, representative, senator or delegate has to have tens of thousands of dollars in the “war chest” at all times. Very little is going to be spent on getting re-elected. It will be spent, however, on buying influence within the national or state parties, or within the legislative body. Or it might be spent to put people in debt to you for favors in the future.

So, I urge you all, whether or not you are going to the reception, to send those checks into Ms. McQuinn. We can’t send her to Richmond (the capital, not the city) without a respectable amount of cash on hand. The voters of the 70th District, whether or not they bother voting tomorrow, are depending on you to make their delegate a force to be reckoned with.

1 comment:

jonathan.mallard said...

You live in the 69th District.