Tom Reed and his rivals

In 2010, Tom Reed ran for Congress against Matt Zeller in the former 29th district; in 2012 he ran against Nate Shinagawa in the new 23rd district. Here are some approximate data:

  • 2010           Votes            Spending
  • Reed          100,000       $400,000
  • Zeller           78,000        $200,000
  • 2012
  • Reed          125,000      $2,000,000
  • Shinagawa 116,000        $639,000

There were many differences between 2010 and 2012:

  • 2012 was a Presidential election year.
  • Reed was the incumbent in 2012
  • The district had changed from 29th to 23rd
  • The Democratic candidates were different
  • The issues were different
  • Independent PAC spending favored Reed.

Superficially, Reed’s additional spending in 2012 corresponded to 25,000 more votes–about six dollars additional spending per additional vote. The Democrat’s additional spending in 2012 corresponded to 36,000 more votes– about three dollars additional spending per additional vote. It isn’t surprising that the lesser known Democrat, Nate Shinagawa, got a better deal than the incumbent, Reed–the challenger has more to gain. Based on this analysis, Tom should plan to spend twice as much as Martha Robertson to win in 2014.

© William Hungerford – April 2014


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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7 Responses to Tom Reed and his rivals

  1. solodm says:

    Thank you, that’s very encouraging. Martha has seemed to do very well fundraising so far, and with her opponent’s false promises coming back to bite him, Martha should only continue to raise more support and funding. I know those of us who support her must continue to work very hard to continue her momentum.


  2. pystew says:

    We need to remember that Shinagawa had a June Primary to spend some of his money on. Robertson has been campaigning for a year.


  3. Denise Mower says:

    He can spend all he likes…he will fail.


  4. whungerford says:

    We don’t know if the additional spending in 2012 was responsible for any additional votes–there were many other factors as noted. Nor do we know how many votes the total spending may have swayed if any. Money is clearly more important to the lesser known candidate, and one would expect diminishing or even negative returns as spending increases. Reed’s annoying internet pop-up ads offend some who probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway, and possibly some who might. Finally, there is a chance that Reed’s negative advertising might backfire.


  5. Henry S. Kramer says:

    Robertson has raised some of her money by making a mythical “hacked by Republicans” claim for which she has no evidence. Money aside, several factors make Robertson’s run in 2014 nearly certain to be futile. First, and most important, the party registration edge fact favors Reed and was reflected in the results last time (about a four point edge Nate did not dent). The district is classified by professional analysts as either near safe Republican or leans Republican. Second, polling data shows 2014 is shaping up to be a Republican year (with time running out for that to change). Third, fact is this is an off year election, polling data shows Republican and independent voter interest in voting is stronger than Democrat liberal interest and the president’s party is likely to lose House seats. Fourth, Obamacare (with Robertson not only supporting it but wanting to go to single payer national health care) is widely unpopular based on polling data and has had a flailing roll out. Fifth, Robertson’s very liberal voting record, popular in Ithaca, is out of tune with the other ten counties of the 23rd, where people don’t much like Ithaca or anti-fracking activist lobbyists. Sixth, Robertson has little name recognition outside Tompkins. The press may want to buy the “competitive race” fiction to have a story, and Robertson has to put out that fable, but wishful thinking doesn’t negate facts of create votes.


  6. pystew says:

    Could you site your source on the polling data you refer to? I hope you stick to your beliefs that Robertson’s run is futile.


  7. whungerford says:

    Henry S. Kramer is counsel to the Tompkins county Republican Party.


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