Unnamed Conservative “insiders” have been talking about the Ches Crosbie nomination fiasco as if it was a rejection of a new Tory Jesus or something.
The way they talk you’d think people are waiting breathlessly for the pictures on Jane Crosbie’s Twitter feed of young Ches taking his first steps across Virginia Lake, just as his father and grandfather did at his tender age without getting so much as a bunion moistened.
Some of these nameless Conservatives - to use the words from the CBC story – .”believe Ches Crosbie could have raised at least $100,000 by now for his run in Avalon. Many of those donors will now sit on their wallets rather than give cash to another candidate.”
Now that’s an interesting claim.
The whole idea Ches would inevitably win is just a pile of nonsense. B
But the talk about money is different.
Money is important for any political party. It is highly likely that a decent candidate - especially one with good prospects or connections - could bring in some extra cash. That would be especially true if the federal Conservatives weren’t getting any cash in Newfoundland and Labrador to fund their campaigns.
That’s the implication of the comment from the shadowy Conservative figures who are supposed to know enough to know the lay of the party’s financial land. The party has lost a great big pile of cash now that Crosbie isn’t a candidate and, by extension, the party doesn;t have a lot of cash.
Interestingly enough, the financial information the federal parties must file with Elections Canada don’t show that. We don’t know how much Ches Crosbie might have meant to the party, but we can see how well the party fundraising efforts have been over the course of a decade or so.
As you can see, the Conservatives have been doing quite well since 2010. That figure for 2013 was almost $350,000 and while your humble e-scribbler doesn;t have the 2014 figures broken down by province yet, there’s no reason to believe that it might have mysteriously dropped to say the 2007 or 2009 levels, for example.
Since 2010, Conservative fundraising has been tracking close to the federal Liberal fundraising. The federal Liberals have typically done quite well in the province so the fact the federal Conservatives are pulling in comparable numbers is interesting, to say the least.
What that also means, though, is that whoever is talking about Ches Crosbie’s candidacy may not be quite as tight with the federal party as it might appear. Someone familiar with the federal party fund-raising wouldn’t have assumed that $100,000 was a big deal in an election year.. It is a huge chunk of cash, to be sure, but you’d need an awfully big operation to shut down that much money.
You see, federal fundraising rules mean that cash comes only from individuals. There’s no money from corporations or unions. Plus there’s a cap on the total any one person can give. Tom Marshall funded his entire provincial campaign in 2011 with corporate cheques from something like seven companies That would be impossible federally.
If you want to see what it takes to hammer a party’s fundraising look at the figures on the first chart for 2007 and 2009. Danny Williams declared war on the federal Conservatives in 2006, not in 2008 as everyone remembers. The next year, the federal party raised a mere $20,000, down from more than $160,000 the year of the federal election that put Harper in office.
The strings on the purse loosened the next year - during the ABC campaign, mind you – but then, once Williams declared the war over publicly, the taps went dry again. $18,000 bucks went to the federal party in 2009. That’s another reminder, by the way, that the story in public and what actually was going on behind the scenes may not always match up.
Once Old Twitchy left office, the federal coffers started swelling. So unless the Crosbie boys have the kind of clout Danny Williams used to have, their implied threat to the federal party’s fundraising is a bit hard to swallow. Given the overall state of the provincial Conservatives these days, It’s doubtful even they could launch a full-on jihad against their federal counterparts these days.