The race doesn’t always go to the swift or the victory to the strong, …. but that’s the way to bet is an old adage that means Tommy Tomlinson will win his re-election campaign for Pa. State Senate. Can Dr. Kim Rose win against Tomlinson’s head start? To ask the question another way, can Senator Tomlinson be beaten?

The most important factor is the amount of money the candidates can raise. It will take half a million for a Democrat to win. Tomlinson is a very popular Senator with lots of name recognition and many people for whom he’s done favors over the years to help him so Tomlinson may only need to spend $100,000.00 to win.

Dr. Rose starts from way behind in name recognition and experience in governing. The Bucks County Democrats lost a capable Vice Chairman, Neil Samuels so they don’t have much of a seasoned campaign staff. The Democrats in the 6th don’t have a lot of support from the community, they don’t have a determined and energetic party, they lack a large list of volunteer workers and of course they are way behind in money and the ability to raise money. They have been very unsuccessful in Northampton and Bensalem against the Republicans.  

The question is what will it take for Dr. Rose to climb the mountain and win? In the Allegory of the Cave, Socrates portrays men mistaking the shadows on the wall for the real deal. The philosopher emerges from the cave to see the forms casting those shadows.  

Team Obama inverted the allegory. They called the den of their computer geeks “The Cave” but they invented lots of political science, tested it, implemented it and won an election in 2012 that was almost lost. One of their inventions was a new way to generate contributions. Their inventions were phenomenally successful.

By constant trial-and-error the Cave perfected the science of fundraising emails. Team Obama discovered the very small donors. They target-marketed 4.2 million people who sent donations to Mr. Obama and the D.N.C., roughly one million more than in 2008. Over all, 55 percent of the Obama campaign’s money through the end of September came in donations of less than $200.  Through the end of September, 45 percent of checks to Mr. Romney’s campaign were for the maximum $2,500 contribution.

The 6th Pa Senate district has few fat cats. Both Rose and Tomlinson are looking at a very small universe of contributors. The trouble for Rose is she’s starting at the bottom compared to Tomlinson who has a massive rolodex. 

Many of the local Democrats are energized. In Dr. Rose they have an excellent candidate who is a great public relations person. If they can use some of the Obama fundraising techniques, techniques that are available and that can work, Rose can raise maybe half a million. There’s 8 months left. If Rose and the Democrats can raise $15,000 a week every week they’ll get a half a million but that’s really difficult to do. If they raise $5,000 a week they will raise only $172,000. That’s not nearly enough to win against Tomlinson.

Obama’s Cave strategies and tactics are difficult to apply to a small district. The strategies are elegant and will work. The tactics will raise loads of cash but it will have to be ground out day after day starting yesterday. That’s not likely to happen.

There is however this. The most money ever generated by Democrats in the 6th Senate District has never been enough to win against Tomlinson. If Rose can change that then she becomes a great candidate but that’s not the way to bet.

So the answer to the question can Dr. Rose win against Senator “Tommy” Tomlinson is yes. The follow up question is will she win? Based on all the available evidence that answer has to be based on the abilities of the Democrats in the 6th Senate District and that answer has to be: No.

What about Dr. Rose getting James Carville as a campaign manager? Well, that would make a difference but James works only for foreign campaigns so he’s not available. Is it too much to call him and ask? He lives in New Orleans.  tel. 703 684-0555 but Tomlinson would probably call James’ wife, Mary Matalin. So the answer is still no.

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