How much is Dewhurst willing to spend?
As soon as the runoff election results came in, people started speculating about 2014. Today, Paul Burka pronounced Dewhurst's political ambitions dead.
That seems to me to rest on one thing, which Burka didn't mention: how much money is Dewhurst willing to spend?
Robert Garrett mentioned something a few days ago that seems very relevant:
Asked what his net contribution of personal funds to the effort was, after some repayments last fall, Dewhurst replied, "A little less than 20 [million dollars], unfortunately."Why is that so relevant? Sometime in spring 2011 I went back and looked at campaign finance reports from Dewhurst's previous campaigns. In his close campaigns, he had loaned himself up to about $20 million. That seemed to be the psychological barrier. But if I correctly understood some opaque campaign finance reports, he then used lobbyists/megadonors to pay himself most of that back, so that he really was never out much money.
Under the "millionaires amendment" to the 2002 McCain-Feingold law overhauling federal campaign-finance rules, he now will be able to recoup only $250,000 of that from others.
So if Dewhurst can't get back any of the $20 million that he spent on his Senate campaign (now we know why he was more interested at the end of the campaign in raising money rather than winning because the money he raised before election night could be paid back to himself), it is quite possible that he has reached a certain psychological barrier.
Dewhurst obviously has lots of money. But perhaps it isn't 100% clear that he is going to spend so lavishly in a future race.
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