Democrat Amy McGrath is grabbing headlines this week for “jumping in” to the race against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But a quick glance at McGrath’s FEC filings indicates that probably, she’s been running against McConnell since the calendar turned, everyone settled on their New Year’s resolutions, and we all took our Christmas trees down.
It’s just that she didn’t bother to announce it until a few days back.
According to FEC data, while McGrath hasn’t been raising money in the first quarter of the year, in the first three months, McGrath disbursed over $153,000 through her existing federal campaign committee.
Data for the second quarter of 2019 are not yet online, but when they come available, we suspect we’ll see more expenditures that suggest the build-up of a campaign, as opposed to the winding down of a former one.
Admittedly, some of this $153,000 could be paying out of vendors who worked on McGrath’s ill-fated congressional race last year.
But $153,000 is quite a lot to be paying vendors months after your campaign ended– and looks a whole lot more like paying vendors to build the infrastructure for your future, yet-to-be-announced campaign against Cocaine Mitch.
That’s especially so when your FEC report shows that on March 1, you dropped $4,000 on digital media consulting services provided by 270 Strategies, a big Democratic consulting firm.
What’s makes this notable is that despite McGrath appearing to have been planning this run for some time, she apparently didn’t bother to iron out her position on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, or her talking points on how she’d work better with Trump than McConnell does during the ramp-up.
Usually, when you’re planning on taking on a big incumbent like McConnell, you use your buildup time to make sure you have your answers on big ticket items like this fully memorized and that your able to deliver them credibly no matter who asks and how hard they press.
McGrath doesn’t appear to have done that, which makes you wonder whether that $153,000 she spent– much of it likely on pre-announcement infrastructure– will prove to be a massive waste.