Are we misunderestimating Keith Johnson? After our latest runthrough of the odds for the Republican candidates for the Idaho 1st congressional district nomination, in which we placed Johnson in the lower of two tiers of probability to win, we heard from the Johnson campaign. They said they thought they were being sold short, and offered to send more information to make their case that they're more strongly positioned than we indicated. Fair enough.
Were they sold short? After a re-look, and a look at some facts available now but not last Wednesday (when the last analysis was done), our thought is that Johnson's standing is a little better than we originally suggested. But not enough, for now, to call for a wholescale rethink of the dynamics of the race.
The biggest single change marker is in campaign finance. As of February 1, Johnson's campaign finance report hadn't been filed. Later in the week it was, and showed him raising a respectable $72,104, most of it from individuals but about $18,327 from PACs, which suggests that some of the money people, at least, think he has a shot. Among the six candidates, only Sheila Sorensen has comparable PAC backing. (In many respects, individual contributions are better than PAC funds, but the PAC money is a market for how races are assessed.) But the funds raised overall put him in a clear fourth place among the six.
There is also this: With $40,243 cash on hand at the end of 2005 (the end of the reporting period), Johnson had more funds available than any other candidate except Bill Sali (who had $133,904). That isn't a perfect indicator of much, because some of the other campaigns may have been buying things Johnson had yet to buy; exact comparisons are dicey. It also doesn't account for revenue dumps pledged or planned but not yet occurred. But it's worth noting, and a small plus for Johnson. (more…)