Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair) is quite serious about keeping his seat in the 9th district. So much so, in fact, that he outraised his opponents several times over during the first quarter.
Shuster brought in a whopping $737,379 for the first three months of 2014. He spent even more than he raised with a strong media campaign: $844,093, and is left with a comfortable $1,252,482 cash on hand.
Tea Party opponent Art Halvorson only managed to raise $8,821.21 while spending $24,727.33. Halvorson has $56,492.52 in cash on hand. Travis Schooley gained a total of $9,602.49, spent $4,581.02 and has $5,692.13 cash on hand.
The incumbent used his recognition throughout the 9th district to his advantage, gaining many contributions from individual donors. Shuster also had quite a few generous organization and PAC donations. The Airports Council International – North America donated $5,000 for the first quarter, the American Gas Association PAC gave $2,000 and the Exxon Mobil Corporation PAC gave $4,000.
For the most part, Shuster’s expenses were quite typical for an incumbent campaign. Worth noting, though, is the fact that over $500K, or about 60%, of his money spent went to Red Maverick Media for ads and mail. So far, he has zero in debts owed.
Compared to Shuster’s $700K raised, Halvorson’s grassroots campaign has some work to do in the weeks before the May primary. Fellow Halvorsons James and Carolyn donated a combined $1,500. In fact, all of his donors were individuals, leaving him with no PAC money.
Of his expenses, Halvorson paid $6,500 to Rockwood Strategies in Harrisburg for advertising, commercials and radio spots. Most of his money spent, though, went to paying campaign employees Ron Robertson, Brian Livingston and David Show.
Regarding debts, Halvorson is listed as having $100,000 in debt. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the $100K loan is from Halvorson’s own personal funds. It is quite possible that he will give himself more loans in the near future, independently wealthy as he is.
Bringing up the rear is Shuster’s much less talked about but still present Republican opponent, Travis Schooley. For the first quarter, he didn’t even manage to break $10K in money raised. All of his donors were individuals, with family member Gary Schooley gifting $150. His largest donation was counted as an in-kind contribution from himself: $2,075.48.
Where did that $2K go to? Schooley spent it on signs for his campaign. Another $1,000 went toward door hangers to further help spread the word. He’s listed as having zero dollars in debt.
Shuster’s district has been rated the most conservative in Pennsylvania, ringing in at R+14 from Cook PVI. In 2012, the incumbent won the race to keep his seat against Democrat Karen Ramsburg, 61.7% of the vote to 38.3%. Schooley attempted to run against Shuster for the Republican primary nomination in 2012, but had to withdraw because of challenges to his petition signatures.