Yoon's Empty Pockets

I've got to think it's tough for a campaign strategist when someone like me calls up and starts the conversation with: "I'm looking at the finance report and wondering why I should take your candidate seriously at this point."

James Spencer gave me some A-plus spin, but the fact is that Sam Yoon raised just under $40,000 in June; he peaked with a $51k March and has declined since. He's raised less than a quarter-million dollars since announcing his candidacy (plus roughly $150k carried in), has been unable to spend any money to get on anyone's radar screen, and has less than $200,000 on hand with less than three months until the preliminary.

As Yoon was announcing back in February, I wrote that Yoon would need roughly $1.5 million to run an effective campaign: half for the bulk of it, and half for a sustained media presence in the final weeks. He's not going to be close.

Michael Flaherty, by comparison, just had his best fundraising month of the year, topping $100,000 for the first time. It's true that Flaherty has been burning through his money, but he's getting something for that investment -- and one of the things he's getting is the growing impression that he's in this thing and Yoon isn't. If that doesn't change by the end of the summer (and summer's a tough time to change anything in Boston politics), then the late anti-incumbent money, manpower and momentum will all flow to Flaherty.

Besides, Flaherty still has, by my accounting, more than twice the cash-on-hand that Yoon has.

Mind you, Yoon still has a path to victory in my opinion, which I summarized this way in that February article:

Yoon's savior, then, ironically, may be his City Council rival Flaherty, whose campaign strategy almost certainly includes plans for sustained, aggressive assaults on Menino. If effective, those attacks could leave voters looking for an alternative to both the attacker and his quarry — and finding Yoon standing above the fray, preaching his positive vision of the city's future. As one local operative says, it's politics 101: A attacks B, and C wins the election.

That's still a real possibility. But when I look at these anemic fundraising numbers, I find it hard to picture.


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