Larry Sharpe Raises $139K in 70 Days

The Larry Sharpe campaign reported raising nearly $140,000 in its 32-day pre-general campaign finance filing. The report covers a period of a little over two months. Sharpe is the Libertarian candidate for Governor of New York.

The campaign spent roughly the same amount during the period and reported $24,000 on hand for the final month of the campaign.

A cursory analysis of the spending shows roughly $12,000 spent on Facebook advertising, $6300 on radio ads with WYSL, a small AM radio station south of Rochester, roughly $6000 spent on audio-video equipment, over $10,000 on campaign shirts, over $13,000 on lawn signs, and $36,000 spent on consultants. We can’t tell if the Facebook advertising was targeted to New York voters, or to potential libertarian contributors nationwide.

The campaign received numerous contributions of $1000 along with two larger contributions. Libertarian businessman Chris Rufer of Woodland California gave $10,000. Richard Cooper, a long-time NY Libertarian leader gave another $4,000. Contributions came from across the country from nearly every state from Alabama to Wyoming.

Considering recent polling, Sharpe’s tremendous effort at in-person campaigning, and a variety of other factors it seems very likely Sharpe will break the 50K threshold and get ballot status for the Libertarian Party in New York for the next four years. Of course the establishment is doing its best to hinder this by squeezing Sharpe onto the same ballot line as another candidate.

Sharpe’s expenditure report is here:

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14 thoughts on “Larry Sharpe Raises $139K in 70 Days

  1. Fred Stein

    I see some money being spent on meals at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic city. I wish I got a free lunch. There is alot of NEW JERSEY voters at this NEW JERSEY CASINO.

  2. William T. Forrest

    Well, campaigning in a casino gets shut down pretty quickly I imagine, but there are lots of New York voters there too…although that probably doesn’t matter.

    The ballot design problems seems to be serious to me. Looking at that ballot I see all gov candidates except Sharpe in one column, with Sharpe squeezed to the right of Miner in a separate column all the way at the bottom. All up and down the first column are multiple repetitions of Cuomo and Molinaro, broken up by a single row for Hawkins; the line for Nixon will also be changed for Cuomo (unless the ballots are already printed – does anyone here know?) .

    Each of the rows has a thick arrow with a party name to the left of it; the only one that’s different is the very last (other than write-in) row, which says “SAM LIBERTARIAN” (Miner’s party is the Serve America Movement). Libertarian is a word a lot of voters will recognize, although obviously not all. “SAM” is of little significance to just about anyone, as even those who are aware of Miner’s campaign are more likely to think of “Stephanie Miner” or “Serve America Movement” as opposed to SAM. Since Sharpe has circles to fill in to both the left and right of his name within that row, unlike any other row, and since Miner is the one in the column with everyone else, it seems highly likely that a lot of voters will get confused and vote for Miner by mistake when they meant to vote for Sharpe.

    It would probably take millions of dollars of NY-specific advertising to really counteract that voter confusion. 6k in radio ads is nice as is 12k for facebook (and at this point we don’t know whether FB is targeted to NY or not). How much did Redlich spend on radio ads and how much on facebook? Redlich had a simple easy to remember slogan he kept repeating all the time, a history as a local elected official and practicing attorney with many community ties in the area where his ads were concentrated. What is the content of Sharpe’s paid ads? Redlich got into a debate that got a lot of viewership because it also featured the “Manhattan Madam” and Jimmy “rent is too damn high” McMillan, but Molinaro is so far pressing for only one on one debates and Cuomo may just see no need to debate anyone at all.

    I do wish Sharpe good luck in beating the 50k but at this point I am less optimistic about it than Redlich is or than I was a few weeks ago. I definitely do not see a 6-figure finish like those in the Sharpe campaign envision, although I would love to be pleasantly surprised to see one.

  3. wredlich Post author

    “How much did Redlich spend on radio ads and how much on facebook?”

    As I recall we spent about $20K on TV and radio ads. We focused on the Albany and Syracuse markets for a couple reasons.

    1. The audience is almost entirely in NY. If you do Binghamton, Buffalo or NYC your audience includes some outside the state.

    2. I already had some name recognition in Albany.

    3. Doing it that way was a good test so we could compare how we did in those markets with how we did in other markets. And the results showed it was very effective.

    We did spend a little on Facebook but not much. The Facebook ad model was not good at that point. It is much better now.

  4. William T. Forrest

    It sounds like you spent your funds more efficiently. If Sharpe beats your record I will be pleasantly surprised.

  5. wredlich Post author

    We spent more efficiently because we had to do so. Sharpe’s campaign finances demonstrate something pretty common in politics. You spend money to raise money. One of the challenges is raising money efficiently. If you raise $100K, but you spend $95K to do it, you only have $5K left over. It’s obviously better if you spend $5K to raise $100K. But realistically the former is a lot more common, and in that scenario you have $5K to spend on ads that you didn’t have before. So it still can make sense in a somewhat perverse way.

    The real question is whether all of this money and activity translates into votes. I know Larry’s campaign talks about a lot of buzz, and that Siena poll did show something. But as Eric and I just talked about none of our non-libertarian friends in NY know who Larry is. If he’s getting name recognition, it’s not in the communities we know.

    I hope Larry realizes his political future is on the line. If he doesn’t break 50K, he’s done. If he breaks 50K he’s done enough in my book. If he does significantly better, say 100K or more, he’s a libertarian hero.

  6. Just Some Random Guy

    I remember I once tried to donate money to his campaign, but I couldn’t get the donate form to work right so I gave up. I wonder if that happened to anyone else.

  7. Steven Wilson

    Any money spent is building brand equity for Larry. I hope he runs in 2020. The LP will catch some coat tails, but Larry is branding himself in a state which has a serious media market. Even a cost per vote analysis won’t be able to explain the long term effects of his campaign.

    Larry needs to publish a book, host a radio show or podcast, and keep his message in view of American voters.

  8. wredlich Post author

    “Any money spent is building brand equity for Larry.”

    1. That would make sense if the money was actually spent on branding. But money spent on consultants and a variety of other things does not go to branding.

    2. It also matters if the money that is spent on branding is spent effectively. In my personal opinion t-shirts and lawn signs don’t do much.

    3. Branding works a lot better if the brand has meaning to people. What meaning does Larry’s brand carry? I don’t see it, and whatever it is I’m not sure if it resonates with voters. But as I keep saying, I hope he proves me wrong on that.

    4. This is probably something libertarians will disagree on but the goal should be to boost the brand of the Libertarian Party, not just of the candidate. Larry doesn’t do enough to promote the LP brand from what I see. Here’s an example of how it can be done (about 45 seconds in):

  9. Jim

    Sharpe will be in a League of Women Voters debate on November 1st. Cuomo is boycotting it, but Molinaro will be there. Howie Hawkins and Stephanie Minor will also be there.

  10. paulie

    Good catch. That’s certainly better than being shut out completely. Hopefully people will still watch, but I think a lot won’t because Cuomo is skipping, unlike the inclusive debate in 2010.

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