Thursday, August 27, 2009

Extended Incumbency and A bigger Warchest don't always mean a bigger victory margin, recent auditor races are proof

Tom Wagner has been the Delaware State Auditor since then-Gov Mike Castle appointed him in 1989. He has won five statewide elections since that appointment. That an incumbent wins re-election may not be surprising.It might be unexpected that his victory margin would decrease as his length of service increased and he disproportionately increased the disparity between the size of his campaign war chest and his Democratic opponent,but that is what took place over his last three elections.

In 1998 he had been in office nine years. He beat Diane Kempski, the New Castle County Register in Chancery, 58% to 42%. He outpaced her in fundraising by $39,650.80 to $16,177.97.

In 2002 he defeated Bob Wasserbach 61.8% to 38.2%, but Wasserbach, who has never held elected office, did not form a committee until September after being appointed as the Democratic party nominee which each party can do if no candidate files prior to the filing deadline in July. Wagner , who had 13 years in office at the time, raised $43,330 to Wasserbach's $12,965 in contributions and $1000 campaign loan from the candidate. While Wagner started the year with over $3000 in the bank, Wasserbach first contribution over $100 came on 9-17-2002 which was less than two months before election day.

After serving 17 years as Auditor Tom Wagner faced off against Democrat Michael Dalto, who had also never held elected office and whose campaign did not begin until September of 2006. Dalto's campaign finance report has no contributions prior to September 2006. Wagner began 2006 with $89, 718.67 in the bank. Wagner went on to exceed Dalto's fundraising by to $104,808.67 to $1,445 or 72-1. Wagner won with 53.7% to 46.3%.

A win is a win for Wagner,but for Dalto to be outspent 72-1 by someone in office for 17 years and come within 3.8% of having a majority of votes may raise issues about whether Wagner could be vulnerable in 2010.

It won't guarantee the 2010 outcome,but as of 12-31-2008 Wagner had $33,682.87
in his campaign treasury.

Here are the numbers:
1998 election results
Diane Kempski (D)-73,475 votes-R. Thomas Wagner,Jr (R)-101,207
1998 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-98-----------------Kempski-$120.97------Wagner $1880.82
Raised 1-1-98 to 10-4-98 -----Kempski--$8300------ Wagner $22,170
Raised 10-5-98 to 10-26-98------Kempski-$7457-------Wagner $10,600
Raised 10-27-98 to election day-Kempski-$300--------Wagner $5000
Total raised prior to election -Kemspki-$16,177.97--Wagner-$39,650.82

2002 election results
Robert Wasserbach (D)-84,248 votes R Thomas Wagner ,Jr (R)-136,410
2002 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-02----------------Wasserbach-----zero---------Wagner $3,350
Raised 1-1-02 to 10-6-02-----Wasserbach-$6820----------Wagner $31,180
Wasserbach lent his campaign $1000
Raised 10-7-02 to 10-28-02--Wasserbach-$5,345---------Wagner $6,550
Raised 10-28-02 to election--Wasserbach- $800----------Wagner $2250
Total raised prior to election-Wasserbach-$12,965--------Wagner $43,330

2006 election results
Michael John Dalto (D)-113,475 votes R.Thomas Wagner,Jr (R) 131,592

2006 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-06------------------Dalto----------zero-------------Wagner $89,718.67
Raised 1-1-06 to 10-9-06------Dalto---------$1,225------------Wagner $11,690
(Dalto's report lists 9-1-06 as the start date and shows no money raised before 9-1-06)
Raised 10-10-06 to 10-30-06--Dalto----------$200------------Wagner $1,200
Raised 10-30-06 to election---Dalto----------zero--------------Wagner $2,200
Total raised prior to election--Dalto--------$1,425-------------Wagner--$104,808.67

For campaign finance reports:

For election results:

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