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Donald E. L. Johnson

Colo Pols seems fixated on the money-raising powers of various candidates.

Suggestion: Read "Freakonomics," by economist Steve D.Levitt, who shows how a smart economist mines data on all kinds of topics, including education, crime, parenting and politics.

He uncovered data that shows money affects only 1% of a candidate's vote. What's important, he concludes, is the candidate, not the money.

So, who are the better candidates, regardless of the money? In light of current events and news, I'm thinking that Hick and Bridges are losers to either BB or MH. Hick's too hard left and Bridges looks like the Dems' Bruce Benson---good at making money and giving it away, but for whatever reasons, not particularly skilled politicians.

economist hack

Don, I haven't read the book , but I'm betting it over looks one distinct fact. Only people with money make it to the race. Yes, Salazar's victory probably has little to do with his $1 mill advantage over Coors. But look at Mike Miles, and look at Bob Schaffer. Hard to say that money wasn't rather critical in each race. They may not have turned out differently if Miles and Schaffer were well-funded, but you can bet your boots they would have been a damn sight more competitive.

Back to the book - a smart economist realizes that ALL economic models are based on a set of assumptions. A smart statistician realizes that ALL statistics reflect only one side of a picture, and ALL data collection is prone to a lack of control over all variables. Levitt's econometric models exist at the intersection of economics and statistics. He needs to be very, very careful of his assumptions and of the statistics he chooses to use if he wants to apply the models to the wide array of topics that he tries to.

For example: toss out any consideration of Corzine's race in New Jersey. Including it certainly would strengthen his case that money matters very little at the margin, but any reasonable person can see that race as a statistically insignificant outlier.

If he's only using general election candidates in competitive races, he still needs to factor in vote registration, pre-existing name ID, and a host of other factors that would drive his model right into the ground.

Isn't there a preface in the book about taking it too seriously? No economist that I know (and I know a bunch) tries to pretend that their econometric models accurately reflect anything but the assumptions they're based on.

thinkin

ahhh... Donald is back. We were wondering where you were off to.

Curious Stranger

Hard left? Where's that come from?

Donald E. L. Johnson

Economist hack,

Good points. Perhaps what he overlooks is the pre-emptive effect of a full campaign bank account versus an empty one.

Hillman vs. Joe Siegel (sp) perhaps? or Beauprez vs. Coffman? The question becomes, at what point does money become irrelevant, or less relevant? When both candidates are relatively well known and have made their critical first impressions on contributors, activists, journalists and, finally, voters?

Curious: Hard left comes from Hick's strong support for a crazy program designed to provide homes for the homeless at something like $120,000 per. The program is "crazy" because it fails to recognize the impacts of substance abuse and mental illness on the ability of the victims of those illnesses to find jobs and afford homes. It apparently assumes that once a homeless person has a home, the illnesses will go away. Crazy hard left idealism, imho.

pollyblog

I never understood why you guys had Ben Campbell on the list to begin with, so eliminating him from the governor's line makes sense. I also think you have to explain why you thought Federico Pena or Gail Schoettler were anything but fantasy contenders -- and why not add Ken Salazar? I think the Salazar speculation is mostly driven by Rutt Bridges in order to freeze out potential rivals, but the fact remains that the Senator (like Hick) has never made a Sherman-like announcement that he would not run --so aren't you guys obligated to at least put his name on the watch list?

sensibledem

Bob Beauprez will have a harder time getting re-elected in the 7th than running for Governor. Why? Because he knows that the 2006 elections are going to be a tough haul for Congressional Republicans, particularly if the war in Iraq drags on with more casulties, the economy is still lifeless and George Bush's attempt to "reform" Social Security fails. He knows he has a better shot at running on a set of new state issues -- particularly with unusually weak Democratic candidates in the field. So all this sturm und drang about Karl Rove and the NRCC is just bullshit... Beauprez knows that his career is better served with a state-wide run for Governor than tying himself to George Bush in a district that supported Kerry in the last election. He has had a charmed life so far and won't throw it all away because a lame-ducked Karl Rove asks for a favor...

CO Dem

I wonder if Beauprez is talking about Rove and the NRCC as a possible avenue to get out of the race if it does not look like he can't raise the money. With MH raising so much money it must put some worry into BB. Just a thought. Also does anyone know much about were MH stands on issues, more of less conservative then BB?

CO Dem

I wonder if Beauprez is talking about Rove and the NRCC as a possible avenue to get out of the race if it does not look like he can't raise the money. With MH raising so much money it must put some worry into BB. Just a thought. Also does anyone know much about were MH stands on issues, more of less conservative then BB?

insider

Holtzman is to the right of Beauprez on fiscal/economic issues, and more moderate than Beauprez on social/environment issues. The extent to which he can play up the former in the primary and avoid the latter until the general will be a major factor in how competitive the primary is.

marcwatch

It is very hard to tell where MH is on issues because he has never had to vote or take a stand except when he ran for Congress in Pennsylvania in 1986. In that race he tried to win by using his dad's money though that got him about 35% of the vote.

Jack

Seems like Holtzman can take whatever position on whatever issue he wants since he's never held elective office. But generally, as a university president, he's going to look like a moderate...

Andy

I read somewhere that Holtzman lost in 1986 in a district where dem/rep registrations were 2/1 or something like that. It is old mining country in Penn. Holtzman is moderate, maybe too moderate for the primary....only time will tell.

brio

Donald-
Hick is a liberal, but part of what makes him a potent candidate is that he is an unusually pragmatic, results oriented liberal. As mayor, he has shown a propensity for searching the country to find programs that have worked in other cities, in order to implement them in Denver. Supposedly, the homeless program he's pushing for Denver is based on one that's proven successful in Philadelphia. I don't know how success is defined in this case, or how long the program's been in place there, or how similar the situations of the two cities are, and I'm reserving judgment until I know the answer to these questions. But to dismiss it out of hand as "crazy" is presumptious. And even if it winds up not panning out, Hickenlooper is building a reputation as someone who tries to find real solutions to problems, instead of just sticking band aids on them. I hope he doesn't run for governor in '06, because we could use him for a few more years here in Denver. And then, if his initiatives have not just passed, but proven successful, he would be a truly formidable candidate state-wide.

For what little its worth, I think he would prefer not to run for governor this time around, but is keeping the door cracked in case it seems come December that there will never be a better opportunity - which may prove the case given the current state of the Democratic field and early signs that '06 could be a good year for democrats.

Alva Adams

In honor of Donald's return to the discussion, I'll add a comment in response to his question about money. To say that money only affects 1% of a candidate's vote doesn't make any sense. People vote for the candidate, not the money -- that's obvious and indisputable. But you can't get your message out without money. Ask Mike Miles. You can't be on TV and send mail and organize truly efficient grassroots efforts unless you have money.

Now, the guy with the most money won't necessarily win. But the winner must normally be in the same ballpark money-wise in order to get to that point.

And money takes on a greater role in these early stages as a measuring stick of support. If Bill Ritter, for example, can't raise competitive amounts of money, it speaks to his ability to generate interest as a candidate. If Marc Holtzman outraises Beauprez 3 to 1 in the next 8-10 months, it will give Beauprez pause in running for governor against him. I'm not saying he will drop out, but it will make him think twice.

It's unfortunate, but it's true, that money matters. At this point in the race, money makes a big difference. You can't even hire a good staff right now unless you can raise the money to pay them.

While it may be true that people don't vote for the candidate who has the most money, they certainly will never hear about the candidate who doesn't have money. Mike Miles, again, is the perfect example of that. It didn't matter if he was the greatest Democratic candidate since JFK; he didn't have the money to get his message out statewide, and that's a big reason why he lost so badly. You can't reach everyone in a statewide race unless you have the means to advertise and send mail to get to them. So, sorry, but money is 80% of the race right now.

Curious Stranger

Donald,

The program is "crazy" because it fails to recognize the impacts of substance abuse and mental illness on the ability of the victims of those illnesses to find jobs and afford homes. It apparently assumes that once a homeless person has a home, the illnesses will go away

The program includes extensive treatment for substance abuse and mental illness. In fact, thats why the housing units are built together as they are, to provide easy access to these treatments.

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