PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – For the three candidates running for Congress in Rhode Island’s 1st District, the most important number come New Year’s Eve won’t be on a ball in Times Square. It will be their fourth-quarter fundraising totals.
Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and the two Republicans who want to win his seat, Brendan Doherty and John Loughlin, have just four days left to raise money and have it show up on their final fundraising reports for 2011.
Doherty, a political newcomer, has proven to be a skilled fundraiser since he jumped into the race last spring. As of Sept. 30, Cicilline’s campaign had $379,122 on hand while Doherty’s had $373,105, a difference of only about $6,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Loughlin, who has not formally entered the race yet, had far less – $12,669 – in his account.
Cicilline’s fundraising schedule was hampered this month by the tug-of-war between House Republicans and the Senate over whether to extend the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits, which forced him to remain in Washington for two weeks longer than expected.
The congressman’s major events during the quarter included an all-star barbecue in Smithfield – ironically, a town his allies tried to boot from his district during the redistricting fight – and a get-together in Newport attended by Patrick Kennedy, his predecessor. Cicilline’s campaign also plans to email supporters seeking donations this week, spokeswoman Nicole Kayner told WPRI.com.
Doherty continued to raise money at a brisk pace during the quarter, with his most high-profile event being an October fundraiser headlined by Bobby Farrelly, half of the moviemaking duo behind “Dumb and Dumber” and other comedies.
“We had an active fundraising effort in the fourth quarter and do expect to report a very ‘solid’ number,” Robert Coupe, Doherty’s political director, told WPRI.com in an email.
Highlights on the former state police colonel’s schedule included low-dollar events in Newport and Providence that attracted “a large number of guests,” and smaller events such as house parties in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Woonsocket and Barrington, Coupe said.
Doherty also wooed potential donors with face-to-face meetings and personal phone calls, and the campaign has “had some success in the past few weeks with e-mail solicitations,” Coupe said. Doherty’s campaign also promoted a “30-Day Challenge” on Facebook, noting: “The end of the year marks a crucial fundraising milestone for us.”
Coupe said Doherty’s campaign will report receiving contributions from a large number of individuals, which will “demonstrate broad-based support for Brendan’s candidacy.”
Loughlin’s campaign had a quieter quarter, as the former state representative served in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserve. The last American soldiers left the country on Dec. 18. Loughlin is now back in Rhode Island and “spending quiet time with family,” though he is officially still on active duty through Jan. 10, spokesman Mike Napolitano said.
Loughlin’s campaign did not hold any events in the fourth quarter. “We did a direct mail piece early in the quarter and do expect to report a number,” Napolitano said.
• Related: Langevin limits damage as Cicilline gains less in new RI-1 map (Dec. 15)