When the media uses the word "trounces" in the headline in reference to your fundraising lead over your opponents that is a good thing:
Republican Rob Portman raised $1.7 million for his U.S. Senate campaign during the second quarter of 2009 -- more money than both his Democratic rivals combined.
"I'm very pleased with it," Portman said at Washington, D.C. press conference. "We had a great response from all corners of the state."
Portman, a former Cincinnati-area congressman who held two Cabinet posts under President George W. Bush, ended the quarter with $4.3 million in the bank. About $1.4 million of that was left over from the war chest he accumulated in the House of Representatives. He's raised $3.4 million during the election cycle.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, one of two Democrats seeking the Senate seat to be vacated by George Voinovich's retirement, raised more than $900,000 in the quarter, bringing his fund-raising total to $1.9 million. Fisher has about $1.48 million left in the bank.
His competition in the Democratic primary, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, raised $228,000 in the second quarter, slightly more than the first quarter total of $207,000.
So Portman raised more money this quarter than Fisher has on hand and more money that Fisher and Brunner (whose money woes are continuing) combined. Ouch!
Money isn't everything, but it is a pretty clear indication that Portman is rallying the party and has gained the confidence of donors. And as name recognition is his biggest challenge, the money will allow him to introduce himself to voters and get his message out.
But Portman is going to need every penny because you just know every leftist group under a rock is going to come out guns a blazing after the Republican candidate. They want to pick up the seat and they will use the phrase "Bush economic policies" ad infinitum.
But in 2010, as Portman notes, it is going to be about President Obama and the Democratic Congress's failures:
"The common concern I hear from everybody is, what's going on with this economy," said Portman. "How could we have spent so many billions of dollars of our taxpayer money on bailouts and a on stimulus package that's having no impact? In fact, unemployment is going up. Things are getting worse."
The Bush label is going to lose its edge, mark my words.