|Sandre Swanson, Wilma Chan and Nancy Skinner|
The early endorsement of his campaign by State Sen. Loni Hancock—the current holder of the seat who is termed out next year—and Assemblymember Rob Bonta were huge for Swanson. This week, the most popular elected official in the East Bay, Rep. Barbara Lee added her name to Swanson's endorsement list.
It's the type of early signal to donors that Swanson will be the candidate the Democratic Party will fall behind. Nancy Skinner and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan also have strong cases for the party’s support, too.
Aside from the recent Lee endorsement, it appears the trio of big names backing Swanson, starting with Bonta's on June 17 has failed to energize donors. Excluding the large transfers of cash by Skinner and Chan from previous campaign accounts, Swanson still trailed in the amount of money he raised during the first half of 2015.
An analysis of fundraising following Swanson's three big endorsements in mid-June, the announcement show no bump in financial support, at least, not on the most current reports,ending June 30. During the two weeks following, Swanson raised $30,550, just less than one-third of his entire $95,200 in fundraising.
Skinner, however, raised $66,470 during the same two week period. In addition, the haul was comprised of 131 donors, most of which were small donors, averaging around $500 per contribution. Down the line, the prevalence of small donors backing Skinner means she may have the ability to continue tapping into this well of support since most of her contributors are nowhere near the $4,200 maximum for the current election cycle.
Campaign finance reports released earlier this month already showed Swanson’s fundraising trailing both his opponents, including a nearly $900,000 money disadvantage with Skinner.
Chan also outraised Swanson during the same two week period in late June, raising $44,039. Among the large donors were two of Chan's colleagues from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The campaign account for Supervisor Richard Valle contributed $4,200 to Chan's state senate campaign and Supervisor Scott Haggerty pitched in another $1,000.
Another view of the significant early rollout of endorsements might now suggest his campaign intended to mask this inherent fundraising disadvantage.
Endorsers having to later eat their early imprimaturs for a candidate happen often. Progressives in 2011 jumped on Joel Young’s campaign for the Eighteenth Assembly District because of his union connections and his early entrance into the race that would later involved Bonta and Abel Guillen.
Like this race in the Ninth District, three strong Democrats exist, but in this case, the trio all jumped in early. However, what occurred is Progressives eventually dropped their backing for Young and either backed Bonta, Guillen or both in June 2012. There are signs this could happen to Swanson next year.
It will be quite telling how the Alameda County Democrats swings when Swanson, Skinner and Chan make their cases early next year for the all-important party endorsement for June. At this point, it’s a good bet the three factions split the vote and none receive the endorsement. In addition, it’s likely unions and other political groups do the same and endorse all three.