Will Menino Hit The Million Mark?

Last year, Tom Menino raised $1,171,133 in campaign contributions -- a fairly impressive sum when you remember that the maximum individual donation in a calendar year is $500.

He's a little behing that this year. Menino's report for mid-December puts him at $828,647 for the year through 12/15, according to my math. He had already hit the million-dollar mark by that point in 2007; he then added another $146k in the final two weeks of Happy Holiday fun.

This year, he has already deposited just over $80,000 since the 15th -- but that still leaves him almost a hundred grand shy of a million for the year, and more than $250k shy of his '07 total.

Still pretty impressive -- but not knock-'em-out, scare-'em-from-running impressive.

The big question is whether a million represents just about all the dough he can squeeze out in a calendar year, or if there's another level he can take it to next year, with the election on the line. In 2005, his last election year, he raised $1.3 million, which was a very big bump up from his previous levels -- but can he go up yet another notch?

The answer is probably yes, especially if he calls in some fundraising help from folks he's helped out in the past (paging Secretary and Mr. Clinton!). Still, it's tough to boost the number when the max is so low -- you have to draw in new, untapped donors somewhere.

Because he maintains a small year-round operation (and because fundraisers cost money to host), Menino spends about $430,000 a year, so he hasn't exactly been stockpiling a massive war chest. He has roughly $1.5 million or so on hand.

If he boosts his fundraising by 50% next year, that gives him a total of about $3 million to spend for the year. That's almost double the $1.7m he spent defending his title in '05 -- but that was against weak competition. Maura Hennigan spent less than $700,000 that year, much of it her own. Michael Flaherty already has about $450,000 on hand, and from what I'm told he believes he can raise at least another million if he runs. And we have no way to guess what Sam Yoon can raise, from local-area progressives and Asian-Americans nationally, if he runs -- but I'd put his over/under well above Hennigan's figure. 

Of course, the economic climate might not be favorable for fundraising next year, for anyone.

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