The $ Race

For real political junkies, April 15th (corrected from 2nd, sorry) is the BIG day. That's when the presidential candiate's fundraising reports for the first quarter will be available.

So how are the candidates tracking? I'm not following the Dems, but on the Republican side a key piece of news came out today. It looks like McCain is pushing out the disappointing news early in an effort to manage expectations.

This comes as no surprise to the Republican faithful. McCain's polling numbers are much higher than his support in the party. We have been awaiting the April 2nd date mostly to confirm that McCain's candidacy is failing and the focus can shift to Romney and Giuliani.

With the new primary schedule, early money is the key indicator of success. Forget the Iowa and New Hampshire polls this time. The question is who will have $100 million to spend on TV in Florida and California in January and early February of '08. If you look at the differential between polling numbers and money raised, the big winner is Mitt Romney. Early indications are that Romney's first quarter numbers are over budget.

At this point in the campaign you don't want to be the clear leader (Giuliani). Too much of a target. And you don't want to be having trouble raising money (McCain). People will drop you for a stronger horse. You want to be on an upward trajectory, building name recognition, putting together a strong staff and raising mucho denaro. That's Mitt.

This year April Fool's Day is going to come hard for John McCain. Couldn't happen to a nicer member of the Gang of 14.