Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Congressional Fundraising in 15th District - David v. Goliath

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOpen Secrets has listed Congressional fundraising through June 30,2006, for incumbent Charlie Dent(R) and challenger Charles Dertinger(D) in the Pa. 15th District race. In the battle for the bucks, Dent has a 10 to 1 margin. He's raised $840,000 to Dertinger's $8,000. But only 57% of Dent's money is PAC money while Dertinger's campaign is funded almost exclusively (91%) by PACs. That figure, however, is a bit misleading because Dent easily has 10 times as much PAC money as Dertinger.

Nazareth resident Rodney Applegate gave Dertinger $400. Dertinger's biggest contributors were the IBEW ($5,000) (electrical workers' union) and IUPAT ($2,500) (painters' union).

Dent pulled in a lot of money from mostly local businessmen and professionals, ranging from $250 from Jeff Parks, the Executive Director of Musikfest, to $6,300 from Charles Snelling, who's pushing for a wider Route 22. The PAC contributions came from all the usual suspects, including $3,000 from Pfizer (drug industry) and $2000 from American Gas (oil and gas).

Dertinger, you may recall, pledged he would not take a dime from the oil and gas industry. Dent, however, refused even to acknowledge three email requests for a similar pledge. And we now know that he continues to take money from the fossil fuel industry and venture capitalists like Snelling, who want wider roads so we can drive even more.

Republicans are reeling over Bush miscues on both domestic and foreign fronts, so Dent should be vulnerable. Wouldn't you'd think the big boys would be pumping money into this contest? This race is far from over, but Dertinger is going to need both a strong grass roots effort and some money to be competitive.

I don't like Dertinger's reliance on PAC money from a single special interest, his willingness to run for Congress so soon after being elected to Northampton County Council, and some of the things he's done on Council. But his pledge against Big Oil impressed me, as well as his appearance at a oil independence rally in south side Bethlehem. And he was impressive when interviewed by Above Average Jane.

Dent's proposed inclined cable car is interesting, and he gets most of his money from within the district. On the other hand, his willingness to take money from Big Oil speaks volumes. And his unwillingness to even acknowledge three emails from a constituent concerning a pledge against Big Oil is very disheartening.

Correction: I was a little off when I said that Dent had 10 times more money than Dertinger. It's actually 100 to 1.


Anonymous said...

1) Dertinger is an arrogant, self-absorbed idiot. No one in their right mind would give him a nickel.

2) The DCCC has spent the last 12 years re-defining "dysfunctional."

3) In an election year where Bush's negatives will depress Republican turnout and drag Swann and Santorum down in stunning defeats, Dent is vulnerable and could be beaten by a "real" Democrat.

4) I predict Dertinger's own family won't vote for him and he'll barely get 40% against Dent.

5) Shawn Mullin is 1 of the best GOP operatives. That's why I can't believe he made a big blunder by trying to run a Democratic write-in campaign for Dent in the primary.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have some real problems with Dertinger, and I've laid them out in previous posts. He certainly did not make a good first or second impression w/ me. Frankly, his actions and votes on county council seem very undemocratic to me. But Dertiner's AAJ interview, his pledge against Big Oil, and his appearance at an oil independence rally,make me wonder.

I don't think Dent is nearly so conservative as he will be portrayed, and he is usually very constituent oriented. On the other hand, he supports Bush's schizophrenic foreign policy, refused to pledge against Big Oil, and refused even to acknowledge 3 emails about this matter. And he is still way too conservative for my taste.

I know I can't in good conscience vote for Dent. And although Dertinger has impressed me on national issues, I remain undecided and need to see more during the vetting process of a campaign. Maybe he'll self-destruct. Maybe he'll impress both me and you to the point that we both end up voting for him.

I agree a "real" Democrat could beat Dent, although I think Rs will do much better than is commonly thought right now. They are going to make "illegal immigrants" the issue. That's the latest scapegoat. I don't think it will be enough to win the day for Santorum (where is he living these days?) or Swann (did he remember to register this time?).

Thanks for your comments. You definitely have a very analytical mind. But you need to be a little more forthcoming. Don't hold back.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when the boxed set, "THe Best of Bernie O'Hare on At Issue" was going to go on sale.I was thinking of giving it to all my Republican friends for Christmas. I might even send one to Lamont McClueless, as one commenter called him. What do you think Bernie? $9.99? Or would you have to give Ron Angle and jolly Joe too big a percentage?

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon: Yeah, I could listen to myself saying "uh" and "you know" nonstop.

I did inviote McClure to the show. One of his pals told me that 6 out of 8 people he talked to told him to stay away. So much for his belief in open government.

Anonymous said...


Money is one of the big problems with politics today and the 15th District is a perfect example of how money corrupts the political system. We have a well funded incumbent - Charlie Dent - against a last minute writein - Charles Dertinger - who has very little funding (really nothing in campaign terms). While this is a system that has to be changed, the local Democtartic leadership allowed it to come to this.

Nothing against Dertinger, but the fact is there was no effort in the 18 months leading up to the primary elections to get a qualified candidate to run for the Democratic nomination. Local leaders (read: Joe Long) sat on their hands in a winable district and did nothing.

Now that Dertinger stepped up (have to give him props for that)you have to ask one simple question: What is the local Democratic Party Leadership doing to help their candidate run a viable campaign? Are they out there raising money for the candidate? Are they showing their belief in the candidate and making donations? The record as of June 30, 2006 shows only $674 in individual campaign contributions to Mr. Dertinger. Even if the $674 came from the Dem Party Leadership, they, as of 6/30/2006, have not really setepped up the support.

Now ... if you were a big, outside the Valley contributor, and you saw the situation in front of you, would you be sending Mr. Dertinger your hard earned money? My bet is the answer would quickly be "no." If you were a big local contributor, would you be seeking out this candidate? Again, the answer seems to be "no." And I don't think anyone could be blamed for not giveing to this campaign.

I don't think we can know if Dertinger is a "real" Democrat as anon 9:10am believes we need. Dertinger is forced to run a completely different campaign than he could if on financial equal footing with the man he is challenging.

This is a breakdown in the local Democratic Party AND should be seen as a blunder big enough to force Joe Long to step aside in Northampton County and allow a competent leader to take over as the Party Leader. This situation should piss off the average Democrat. In a winable election we have a candidate who doesn't have much of a chance due to the lack of initiative by Joe Long. It is amazing that this man has enough cronies who continue to let him screw the Party. It is almost as if he is working purposly to screw the Dem Party over. Can anyone name the last big election Long was involved in where his candidate acually won?

To be fair, I would hope that Mr. Long, who assuridly reads this blog, would come out and defend himself. Prove me wrong with the details of everything you did to get us good candidates. Detail your efforts for a better local Dem Party. Detail your plan for Mr. Dertinger now, and how we can win back these winable seats in the future.

My bet is that he will sit on his hands (as usual) and say nothing. My bet is that he is only concerned with his "power" and not the betterment of the Democratic Party or of a better Lehigh Valley. My bet is that Joe Long has placed his friend, Mr. Dertinger, into an unsupported race for the 15th District. With friends and leaders like this, who needs enemies or Republicans?


Bernie O'Hare said...

Dertinger can't win alone. He's going to need help. My problem is I haven't decided whether to support him. I still don't know whether he really is the "arrogant, self-absorbed" person I heard described this morning, or whether he is a person who genuinely cares about his fellow man. That's the way he came across in his blog interview with Above Average Jane. And his appearance at an oil independence rally also impressed me.

I am confused because I was originally dead set against him. I'm willing to give him time. Perhaps your group should invite him to your August meeting, as you did w/ Joe Brennan.

He is pals with Joe Long, so I think Long will work harder for Dertinger than he does for most, but that won't be enough.

But is Dertinger a voice for reform or does he stand for buisiness as usual? Is he a true alternative or is he the kind of "faithless politician" that got Dems in trouble in the first place? His interviews and statements on his blog speak to reform. His actions on Northampton County Council tell me something else.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Charles may read your blog. That is the reason I am writing this


I admire your courage in stepping up when no other Democrat had the balls to challenge Dent. From what little I know about you, you might just have what it takes to be a very good Congressman.

But lets face it. There is no way you are going to get anywhere close to Dent in money. And the Morning Call, whose first torpedo against you kind of misfired, has plenty more ammunition which will be headed your way. So, "politics as usual" for you has but one inevitable outcome -- and it doesn't get you to DC except as a tourist.

So why not try an experiment? After all, what have you got to lose? Why not forget about trying to say the right things to get money rolling in, and simply say what you think. Why not speak to the Americans in the 15th District as one of them. Educate them, and learn from them. But in the end, come down with your own informed ideas, opinions, and policy proposals, and not those of your "handlers".

For example, if you think that the medical insurance system in this country is an embarrasment, say so.
If you think that the ban-the-gays amendment is a distraction from much more important issues, say so. If you think that the War has diverted our resources and greatly weakened our fight against terrorism, say so. If you think that our knee-jerk support of Israeli military actions is not in our national interest, say so.

My list may not be your list, but get a list based on what you really believe. And then communicate forcefully and respectfully to your fellow Americans. We will know where you stand, and I think people will respect that.

If you do this and lose by 40 points, it will be the same result as losing by only 20. And, if you can win without very much money, think of the message that that would send to our political system. It would give people hope that the very real problems we face can be dealt with.

You have your moment on the stage. Make the most of it, win or lose. That will offer the best chance that you, and we, will win. Best of good fortune to you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll send this blog post, along with your "open letter," to Dertingers website at We'll see what he says. He might respond on his own blog, as he did once before.

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:33 is correct. I do hope that Dertinger has the guts to come out and truely tell us what HE believes, not what his "handlers" or the "powers that be" or what Joe Long wants him to say. Let's face it, we need a candidate who speaks the truth and the only way to get anywhere without money is to step outside the box.

Now's the time to show us who you really are Mr. Dertinger. If you don't the people of the 15th District are stuck with Chuckie Dent for at least another two years.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Well Dave and Anon, I did send the post to the email address indicated. Dertinger might respond on his own blog, so I'll keep an eye on that, too.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting statement by Dent in today's (July 20) Washington Post. In an article titled "GOP Lawmakers Edge Away From Optimism on Iraq", there is Dent's statement right at the end:

"Republicans, especially those in swing districts, had no choice but to shift the emphasis of their war talk, lawmakers said. "The Iraq issue is the lens through which people are looking at the federal government," said Rep. Charles W. Dent (Pa.), another swing-district Republican. "That is the issue to most people. There's no question about that."

To pretend the war is resolving itself nicely is no longer an option, he said."

I saw no such comment in today's Morning Call.


Bernie O'Hare said...

I heard him on WGPA today and he made similar statements. He's shying away from "stay the course," but rejects a timetable. Not sure exactly where he comes down. I wonder if he knows himself. But I remember his "fact" finding missions to Iraq and his glowing reports, too.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, since you said I should be "more forthcoming," I won't hold back:

1) "Sir Charles" Dertinger is an imbecile, a major league idiot, and a worthless human being.

2) Charlie "I look like JFK" Dent has perfected the political skill of not making waves, straddling the fence, and opening his mouth without really saying anything.

3) Joe Long can't spell "Democrat," let alone help one get elected.

4) Dertinger has "handlers"? You gotta be kidding me! It takes money and a realistic chance of winning to attract political pros to work for you. Dertinger has neither.

5) I agree with you, Bernie, that the GOP will use illegal immigrants as a wedge issue this fall--but with very, very limited success.

6) I commend John Morganelli for speaking out on the issue of illegal immigrants, especially since he recognizes that the root of the problem lies with employers who falsify records and turn a blind eye so they can pad their bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:33

Your #1 is a rather serious charge to make against a fellow human being. having made it, I think you owe some evidence.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon, Funny thing about John Morganellie. I sent him my post about illegal immigration and asked him if he wanted to post something himself, especially since I was critical of some of his positions. He wrote back to say he felt the articvle hgad ben more or less fair to him and he didn't feel a need to write a separate post. Class act.

Bernie O'Hare said...

FtnHillDem & Anon 8:33 & Dave and anyone else, I saw Charles Dertinger before tonight's county council meeting. He apparently did read the "open letter" and suggested that he would like to sit down and chat with me. I said sure, but I think maybe it would be better for him and the rest of us if a number of us could \meet him. I don't have to worry about remaining anonymous and I'll understand if this might put some of you on the spot. Buy when I arrange this get together, I'll ask him if he'd be willing to see a group of us. I don't see a problem there.

If he goes along with it, I'll post a time, date, and place and you can all come and ask what you want and decide for yourselves.

Tonight he told me he's a third generation electrician, and considers himself lucky to be where he is. He actually sounded like a nice guy. Later in the evening, he and Angle were actually agreeing on things. You better check this in the paper tomorrow. I'm taking drugs for my shoulder, and maybe I'm hallucinating, but he and Angle were actually smiling at one another.

Well, I'll make my proposal to Dertinger and let's see what comes of it. If I were him, I'd be all for inviting other people. I wouldn't want to be caught alone with me. Take care.

Anonymous said...

To FtHillDem:

Let me clarify my factual statement:

1) Dertinger is a useless and worthless human being.

2) Dertinger is a mental midget who over-compensates for his stunning lack of brain power by pretending that he is a freaking genius.

3) Dertinger is the most self-absorbed, egotistical loser I've ever met. He was NEVER elected to anything, but he acts as if he should be Supreme Commander of the Planet Earth.

4) Dertinger is worse than simply incompetent--he acts like he knows it all, can do it all, and can solve ALL the problems that exist anywhere in the world before breakfast.

5) Dertinger is personally repulsive, has no rapport with "real" people, and lives in a fantasy world of invisible friends who buy his bullshit and kiss his ass--kind of like you do...

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon 11:09,. I gather then that you'll be working for Dertinger's campaign this Fall.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:09

Whew! For a minute there, I thought you might have had real evidence.


Anonymous said...

To FtHillDem:

Gosh, you are so right! Sir Charles Dertinger is the ultimate candidate and is destined for greatness in Congress...

I'll bet you $1,000 (and Bernie can hold the money) that Dertinger loses in November.

Come on, Chicken Shit, you prove to ME that I'm wrong!! I mean, what the hell... Dertinger has NO personality flaws at all!! Put your money where your mouth is, pussy.

Waiting for your next lame excuse,
Nice to know even losers have loser defenders...

Show me the money or shut the hell up.