Posted: July 19, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

A new round of congressional campaign reports for the Democratic primary is in, and the candidates are competing fiercely to outshine one another.

Sean Barney is the winner. No. Lisa Blunt Rochester is. No. Bryan Townsend is.

Townsend is the first candidate to collect more than a half-million dollars in contributions. So he wins. Barney brought in more than the others for the quarterly reporting period. So he wins. Rochester has the most cash in her campaign account. So she wins.

Really. It is like trying to sort red from crimson from scarlet.

Not that the candidates themselves have doubts, not with a press release from Barney's campaign headlined, "Barney Far Out-Raises Competition in Quarterly Financial Reports," and one from Townsend's organization countering, "Delaware Donors Propel Townsend to Lead in Fund-raising Race," and also Rochester's campaign manager telling the Delaware State News they recorded "the highest cash on hand in the race for the third quarter in a row."

Never mind all that. There is danger for all the candidates in them thar numbers.

Candidate Raised Spent Balance Self-loans
Barney $441,605 $162,981 $278,624


Rochester $394,150 $252,793 $320,257 $178,900
Townsend $534,394 $286,761 $247,633


The campaign finance reports, which were due Friday to the Federal Election Commission, summarized how the candidates have done from the time they entered the race for Delaware's lone congressional seat until June 30.

Joe Pika, a professor emeritus of political science from the University of Delaware, saw warnings in all of the reports -- for Barney, who was the Democratic candidate for treasurer in 2014, and for Rochester, who was a Cabinet secretary for two Democratic governors, and for Townsend, who is a Democratic state senator.

"Rochester lags both opponents in money raised, and presumably her own resources are not unlimited. Although her cash on hand leads the field, it doesn't take long to burn through funds," Pika said Tuesday by e-mail.

"Townsend has spent at a faster rate than the others, almost twice as fast as Barney. At that rate, he needs to replenish more rapidly than his opponents, though perhaps the early investments will pay off," Pika continued.

"Is Barney being too cautious in spending the least? Perhaps his strategy gives him that opportunity, though some critics felt he had not campaigned hard enough during his last race."

Whatever the financial ranking of the candidates, they all look better off than Hans Reigle, the Republican congressional candidate. Reigle does not have a primary, so he is spared the expense of running essentially two campaigns as the Democrats must -- for Primary Day, Sept. 13, to win the nomination and for Election Day, Nov. 8, to replace John Carney, the Democratic congressman now running for governor -- but still.

Reigle's finance report shows he brought in $122,987, spent $74,687, loaned himself $28,129 and has $56,752 left in his campaign account.

Anyway, three cheers for the winner in the Democratic financial race. Hurrah for the most in contributions. Hurrah for the best quarter. Hurrah for the highest balance in the bank.

In other words, for all of them.