Rich Whitney sent out a strongly-worded (and somewhat frantic?) fundraising plea to supporters earlier this week. Below is an excerpt from the message:
Circumstances force me to be blunt: My campaign is REALLY hurting for money right now. Just when we need to be peaking, so that we can get some radio and cable TV ads and buy yard and window signs, and numerous other essentials, we are instead scraping the bottom of the barrel…
…Thus far, supporters have not followed through on such basic fundraising efforts as expected. I can’t do it all, and you can’t wait for the “campaign” to do it all. The campaign is US, collectively. I need people to step up to the plate and take some initiative.
To keep the carbon footprint down, I can arrange to “appear” at your house party or other gathering by Skype or phone, but I will also come out to your area if we can plan it to coincide with my campaign appearances. But either way, we need people to get these things OFF THE GROUND, ASAP.
The key is to keep this in perspective. As a candidate who hit 10% in the last gubernatorial election, expectations are quite high for the Whitney campaign. In a later interview Whitney points out that he will still likely buy advertising later; instead, it would be the duration and scale of the ad buys that would be in question.
The situation for the Whitney campaign is not looking good. The fundraising letter particularly mentions the threat of Independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen. We reported two days ago that Cohen has begun a massive radio advertising buy in Chicago, and appears to be targeting African American support. Whitney likely understands that much of his support in 2006 is attributed to “protest voting”- that much of the electorate disliked the two major party candidates so much they purposefully “spoiled’ their vote. However, this year both Libertarian Lex Green and Cohen managed to secure places on the ballot, eroding potential independent and conservative protest voter support. (Polls seem to back this up- when alone on the ballot, PPP had Whitney at 11%, but when a Chicago Tribune poll mentioned all three of the minor party/indy candidates mentioned, Whitney plunged to 2%). For those Green Partiers who hoped for a stunning upset on the heels of the 2006 race, it appears that victory is out of the question.
Of course, in 2006 Whitney’s campaign beat the expectations of pollsters. Nevertheless, the candidate has a lot of work to do if he wants to surpass his showing four years ago.