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« So It's Come To This | Blog Home Page | Another Competitive Year In The Philly 'Burbs? »

Daniels Has The Dough

In what we still look forward to as one of the marquee governor's races of the 2008 cycle, an unpopular incumbent is going to have a huge financial advantage over his Democratic opponents. New fundraising numbers show Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels far outstripping both of his potential rivals in the race to claim cash.

Daniels, the AP reports, finished 2007 with a massive $6.7 million cash on hand. He raised $5.8 million last year. In his 2004 race, Daniels beat acting Governor Joe Kernan using a warchest of $18 million.

Architect Jim Schellinger, who national Democrats privately hope will represent their party in November, reported raising $2.4 million since he entered the race last March. He retained $1.8 million in the bank. Former Rep. Jill Long Thompson, who has the backing of EMILY's List and much higher name recognition than Schellinger, raised $635,000 since getting into the race in July and maintained cash reserves of $435,000.

Recent polls have shown divergent results in the race. A poll conducted in December for the Republican Governor's Association showed Daniels with healthy 13- and 15-point leads over Long Thompson and Schellinger, respectively. But a survey conducted for the Indianapolis Star by the venerable Ann Selzer, in November, showed Schellinger leading by four and Long Thompson up one on the Republican incumbent.

Regardless of who's ahead in horse race polls eleven months out, it is trouble for an incumbent to see his poll numbers fall below 50%. Selzer's poll showed that a majority of voters, by a 50%-40% margin, disapproved of Daniels' job performance, and 57% said the state was off on the wrong track.

The RGA is keeping a close eye on the race, along with another embattled incumbent in the middle of the country. "Our top focuses this year is making sure our incumbents are re-elected, and that makes Missouri and Indiana our top priorities," RGA communications director Chris Schrimpf told Politics Nation. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt faces a tough battle with Attorney General Jay Nixon in November. If Blunt comes in with fundraising numbers even approaching Daniels', the RGA will be very pleased indeed.