The below is not about a San Diego race, but the 43rd Congressional District in L.A. County. It provides the sobering reality of consultant-driven campaign efforts.
Candidates often face a dilemma: Go it alone without consultants, but gain little credibility and raise few dollars? Or use consultants to help establish a credible effort, while significant amounts of the resulting funds go to those consultants?
This case, however, seems to be the extreme.
by Mark Meuser
From his Facebook page on March 6 and published with his permission.
Sad, sad, sad.
In Congressional District 43, there were three candidates in the race, Maxine Waters, Omar Navarro, and Joe Collins. Based upon the election results right now, it appears that Maxine Waters will be running against Omar Navarro. The media is reporting that Navarro is in prison so that means the Republicans in the 43rd Congressional District were so uneducated about the race that they voted for someone in prison.
There was another Republican in the race, Joe Collins. I decided to look at Collins’ campaign reports to see what happened. Collins raised over a million dollars. Yes, you read that right, Joe Collins raised over a million dollars to run against Maxine Waters but was unable to beat a Republican who was in prison to make it into California’s top two.
I had to figure out, what did Joe Collins spend a million dollars on that he could not make it into the top two against a candidate who is in prison.
It appears about $625,000 went to the fundraiser to raise the million and another $215,000 went to the campaign consultants. Over $141,000 went to food and travel (I guess Joe Collins loved staying at the Ritz).
The total spent on online advertising – $389.01.
The total spent on printing – $1,021.91
The total spent for a web site – $219.
That is it: $1,629.92 out of a million dollars was spent on voter outreach. The rest of the one million plus dollars was spent on consultants, fancy hotels, and nice restaurants.
No slate mailers purchased. Nothing. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the consultants other than the lawyers who filed the campaign finance reports did to earn their $200,000+ consultant fee.
It is sad that the Republican voters in CD 43 voted for a Republican who was in prison.
It is sad that a Republican candidate raised a million dollars but did not spend any of the money getting his message out.
It is sad that Republican contributors were duped by some fancy fundraising campaign to give their money to a candidate who was not even serious about campaigning.
Meuser is a Constitutional-Election Law Attorney with the Dhillon Law Group
Admin note added:
Per the question posed as a comment below, online Federal Election Commission filings show the Collins campaign paid approximately $625,000 to Campaign Solutions of Alexandria, VA for “Online fundraising consulting fees,” and the bulk of the campaign consulting fees to Pure Strategy Solutions of Beverly Hills, CA.