Rep. Bill Owens has a sizable lead over Matt Doheny in the campaign cash battle, despite an infusion of personal funds from Mr. Doheny, according to Federal Elections Commission reports.
Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, raised $424,699.37 in the third quarter of 2012, according to FEC reports, leaving him with $770,032 in the bank for the last month of the campaign.
Mr. Doheny, a Republican of Watertown, raised $162,301, and also lent his campaign $300,000 in personal funds. His wife, Mary, lent the campaign $35,000. That left him with $303,968 in the bank as of the end of September.* (SEE UPDATE)
The loans were made in late September, about a week after a Siena College Research Institute poll showed Mr. Owens leading Mr. Doheny by 13 points in the race. The amount that Mr. Doheny raised is in the neighborhood of his previous reports, except for the first one, where he raised more than $300,000. The majority of those donors were maxed out.
Just over half of Mr. Owens' money came from political action committees.
More than two-thirds of Mr. Doheny's money, meanwhile, came from individuals.
That's in keeping with previous campaign finance disclosures.
Mr. Doheny's campaign has been fighting a perception battle ever since the Siena poll came out. I'm asked often if he can still win (the answer is yes). So this report will be flyspecked over the next few days, and perhaps the most important inside baseball conclusion we can try to deduce is whether the Republican establishment is still betting on Mr. Doheny. Rep. Eric Cantor's recent visit to Watertown suggests yes. So do a few other donations, including from the Koch Industries' political action committee. The question is: Is that enough?
The Sunlight Foundation says that outside groups have spent $1.3 million against Mr. Owens, and $288,884.50 against Mr. Doheny. That outside spending more than wipes out Mr. Owens' cash advantage.
That's less than another marquee race in New York — Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul vs.Republican Chris Collins. The race between Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle and Democrat Dan Maffei has featured much more outside spending.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, is up on the air against Mr. Owens with an ad linking Mr. Owens to President Obama. The ad makes some suspect claims about Medicare, but for the purpose of this discussion, that's somewhat besides the point.
Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist's group, is allegedly up with a TV advertisement in the north country, too.
“The Doheny campaign has the resources necessary to get our message of creating jobs and reducing the debt out to voters," Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour said in an email. "While Bill Owens runs down to New York to raise money from special interests to spread his campaign of lies and distortion, Matt Doheny is out meeting every voter he possibly can.”
The Daily Kos, a liberal blog, has a listing of campaign finance reports in all the races it considers competitive. Mr. Doheny's contributions ranked near the bottom, but his self-loan helped boost his cash-on-hand numbers when compared with other Republicans.
*UPDATE: As pointed out by a reader, Mr. Doheny's wife is subject to campaign finance disclosure limits, even for loans, meaning that she gave more than the $2,500 that was allowed.
Spokesman Jude Seymour said via telephone earlier today: “The campaign takes its compliance requirements very seriously. An inadvertent mistake was made, and the money has been refunded.”