We’re in the last few weeks of the 2012 campaign. As expected, it’s been a very interesting race in CD-9. Ricky Gill (R), a political neophyte, and Jerry McNerney (D), an incumbent who was forced to change districts, are locked in what most observers believe to either be a “tossup” or “lean Democratic” contest. McNerney began with a somewhat favorable district profile, but by force of will, good strategy, and effective campaigning Gill has made it a contest worth talking about.
Here are some numbers to give you a sense of the state of the race:
Gill has outraised McNerney at this point in the cycle. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics show that Gill has raised $2.5 million compared to McNerney’s $2.0 million. Gill’s money has mostly come from large donors (79% of all donors) and donors in the district (about a third from the Stockton-Lodi metro area). McNerney’s money has come from large donors (53%) and PACS (34%), and most of it has come from outside the district.
These individual numbers, however, do not tell the whole story about campaign spending in CD-9. Just as in the presidential race, outside groups are pouring a lot of money into the race. Roughly $3.0 million has been spent by outside groups so far, and the bulk of that money has been spent on behalf of Gill. The National Republican Congressional Committee (the House Republican’s campaign committee) has spent $2.2 million on behalf of Gill, and the Chamber of Commerce has spent an additional $500,000 on his behalf. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spend just $230,000 on behalf of McNerney.
Put it all together, and Republicans have raised and spent $5.2 million for Gill compared to just $2.3 million for McNerney by Democrats. That’s a $3.0 million advantage for Gill.
For all that money, McNerney may still win. Relatively few public opinion polls have been done in the area. From Pollster, the most recent poll (10/8-10), by Global Strategy Group (DCCC), has McNerney up by 9 points, 47-38, with 15 percent undecided. The previous poll (9/30-10/2), by Tarrance (Gill Campaign), had Gill up by 1 point, 45-46, with 9 percent undecided.
Outraised and outspent, McNerney is either basically tied or ahead by quite a lot. I give you the power of incumbency and the power of a Democratic leaning district.