Good News And Bad News For Angelle Amid 1st Quarter Finance Disclosures

We’ll dispense with the good news first: Angelle is raising lots of money and his fundraising team is top-notch.

A press release from late yesterday…

Today, Scott Angelle’s campaign announced that since entering the 2015 gubernatorial race in October of last year, he leads in fundraising and has outraised each of his opponents.

“Scott is a prolific fundraiser,” Angelle communications director, Jessica Ragusa said. “Since beginning his campaign last October and giving Louisianians an alternative in the race, Scott has outraised each of his opponents and is rapidly becoming the desired choice, due to a proven record of solving problems across all lines.”

Since entering the race, Angelle has raised $2.1 million in cash contributions.

In the same time period (Oct. 1 – Present) Sen. Vitter has raised $1.9 million, Lt. Gov. Dardenne has raised $800,000 and Rep. Edwards raised $425,000.

Since Jan. 1, 2015, Angelle has raised $622,000 in cash contributions and has $1.2 million cash on hand.

“This early lead in fundraising indicates that Scott’s entrance into the race altered the landscape,” Ryan Cross, Angelle’s campaign manager said. “We’re the only candidate rising in the polls, we’re gaining momentum across the state and we’ve shown that we’ll have the money necessary to be victorious this fall.”

“I am humbled by the enormous outpouring of support from across the state,” Angelle said. “Since beginning this journey almost seven months ago, I’ve met countless hard-working Louisianians who believe, as I do, that our best days are still ahead. I will be a Governor that focuses 100 percent on solving Louisiana’s problems…every time, all the time.”

$2.1 million raised since Oct. 1 is very impressive. Outraising David Vitter in that time period is impressive beyond a doubt. Angelle can find the resources to win this race, if money is the only thing that matters.

But here’s the bad news…

4-28-15 cash on hand gov

We imagine Edwards will make his number known today, but the guess is he’s not going to have as much as Angelle does – if he did he would have rushed to pump the good news out into the media and attempt to build the narrative that his performance in the money race shows he can win. No numbers likely means he’s going to have to admit he’s short-stacked.

But going with what we have, and knowing that he’s raising lots of money, what we can see is Angelle has a tremendous burn rate. He may be raising a lot of cash but he’s running through it at a very fast clip.

There are political consultants out there who will look at Angelle’s numbers and contend they show a campaign which is all about getting Roy Fletcher, his general consultant, paid – and that they show Angelle can’t win the race.

I wouldn’t say that. It was always going to be the case that Angelle would need to spend some money, and he has. He’s been on TV, he’s dropped a ton of direct mail, he’s hiring people for a grassroots army…he’s out there as though the campaign is in its later stages, and he probably had to be.

Angelle has two preliminary problems in this race that he can’t avoid, and the sooner he overcomes them the sooner he can tackle the main problem of being wedged between Vitter and Edwards and sharing that space with Dardenne.

Angelle’s first problem is name recognition. Vitter is a senator and Dardenne is the Lt. Governor. They’re both statewide officials, and because they are they’ve got pretty widespread name recognition. Angelle was an appointed, interim Lt. Governor and he’s currently on the Public Service Commission. In a different race that would be plenty enough to get him started, but against Vitter and Dardenne he starts off as the guy people don’t really know much about. He has to blast out a message early in order to generate that name recognition, which is what he’s doing, which is why his big fundraising numbers aren’t translating into big cash-on-hand numbers.

And Angelle’s second problem is that among lots of people who do know who he is, he’s seen as “Jindal’s guy.” After all, current Gov. Bobby Jindal retained Angelle as his Secretary of Natural Resources upon his inauguration in 2008 (Angelle had held the job under Jindal’s predecessor Kathleen Blanco), Jindal appointed Angelle his legislative liaison, he appointed him Lt. Governor when Mitch Landrieu left the job to run for mayor of New Orleans and he appointed him to the LSU Board of Supervisors. Angelle has Jindal’s fundraiser Allee Bautsch on his campaign team.

Two years ago, being “Jindal’s guy” would have been a major asset. But now, Jindal’s approval rating in Louisiana is 28 percent and dropping, and the statewide perception is that Jindal has checked out of his job. There isn’t all that much Jindal can do to help Angelle politically, which means that as Angelle builds name recognition he’s got to define himself as something other than “Jindal’s guy.” Which, if you’ve seen his TV and digital ads and if you’ve heard some of his messaging, is what he’s trying to do.

So it makes sense that Angelle is spending what he’s taking in. He has to, if he’s going to get over the hump, and being the only candidate on TV right now is an opportunistic way of doing that.

The question is whether it’s working. And we won’t know the answer to that one until we see some independent polling which shows us whether he’s truly gaining. If he is, then he can say he’s converting cash into votes and his burn rate is acceptable. If not, then Angelle is a real long shot in this race and the “Roy Fletcher got paid” stuff is only going to get repeated more loudly.



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