PA-Sen: Q1: Digging into Sestak, McGinty Financial Reports

McGinty-Sestak-FettermanKatie McGinty’s campaign for U.S. Senate seems to have caught traction at just the right time.

With less than a week until PA’s primary, McGinty has dragged herself into a dead heat with former Congressman Joe Sestak, according to the latest Monmouth Poll.

Behind McGinty’s late revival was a swell of fundraising, with the former Chief of Staff to Gov. Tom Wolf raking in almost $1.8 million in the first three months of 2016 – nearly triple Sestak’s take of $640K.

John Fetterman’s FEC report has not yet been processed, though his campaign said it was mailed in time. We will take a deep look at his Q1 report when it becomes available.

Top-Line Numbers

McGinty closed the gap on Sestak over the first three months of the year, backed by an impressive financial superiority.

McGinty raised $1,779,347.27 and spent almost $2 million during Q1 in her quest to face off against Pat Toomey in November. The former DEP Secretary now has $953,674.09 available to spend in the last few weeks of the primary race.

Sestak has been somewhat thriftier with his money, spending $1,476,423 in the first three months of the year. However, there is much less money coming in the door for the three-star Navy Admiral, as he brought in just $625,024 in Q1.

Still, Sestak has almost double McGinty’s cash stockpile, sitting on $1,733,473.53 as of March 31.

McGinty crushed Sestak with PAC money (though Sestak will invariably wear that badge with pride), $187,803 to $4,141.


McGinty picked up 492 contributions of at least $1,000. 22 donors maxed out in the first quarter of 2016, kicking in $118,800 between them.

She has found widespread support across the country, with 389 large ($1,000+) out-of-state donors contributing $651,150 over the course of her campaign. 211 large donors from Pennsylvania pitched in $427,019.

69 large donors in Philly contributed over $130K, while 21 in Pittsburgh pitched in almost $40K. McGinty also found lucrative support in New York City (48: $118,815), Washington, D.C. (38: $68,302), Boston (14: $24,201) and Denver (17: $19,101).

McGinty also picked up strong support from many of her potential future colleagues: MT Sen. Jon Tester ($10K), RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ($10K), NM Sen. Martin Heinrich ($5K), VA Sen. Mark Warner ($5K), CA Sen. Dianne Feinstein ($5K), MI Sen. Gary Peters ($5K), OR Sen. Jeff Merkley ($5K), VT Sen. Patrick Leahy ($5K), HI Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz ($5K and $3K, respectively), MO Sen. Claire McCaskill ($2,500) and CT Sen. Chris Murphy ($2,500).

PA Sen. Bob Casey also threw $5K behind McGinty’s Senate bid.

McGinty picked up $5,400 donations each from the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community.

McGinty has now raised $669K through ActBlue, a Democratic PAC that channels small donations to candidates throughout the country, while Sestak has brought in $349,630 through the same means.

EMILY’s List, a PAC that supports pro-choice Democratic female candidates, has contributed $165,547, while the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund has funneled another $46K into McGinty’s campaign.

McGinty picked up $10K donations from the Sheet Metal Workers International Association PAC, the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education and the Carpenters & Joiners Union Legislative Improvement Committee.

Sestak’s donor list was much more PA-based than McGinty’s with 362 large donors from the Keystone State chipping in $698,122 so far to his second U.S. Senate campaign. Just 111 large donors from out-of-state appeared on Sestak’s reports, representing over $230K in contributions.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sestak found more large donors in Pittsburgh than he did in Philadelphia. 38 in the Steel City contributed $65,767, while his more usual support base lagged behind, with 31 in the City of Brotherly Love kicking in $60,399.

Sestak found solid support in several other PA towns, including Bryn Mawr (15: $32,245), Media (13: $28,869), West Chester (14: $26,057) and State College (10: $21,668).

Sestak’s only PAC donors were the Duane Morris Government Committee ($2K) and Burghnest ($1,500).


McGinty outspent Sestak by over $500K in the first quarter, with both candidates spending most of their money of ad buys.

McGinty’s campaign paid NYC-based SKDKnickerbocker $1,146,906 for several rounds of TV spots. Santa Monica-based Rapid Returns picked up $71,664 for direct mailers, while another $64,672 came out of the campaign account to pay DC-based Campaign Finance Consultants for fundraising help.

Rising Tide of Washington, D.C. pulled in over $51K for online advertising for McGinty and Peter D. Hart Associates were paid $40,750 for polling work.

McGinty paid out over $221K in wages for 17 campaign staffers over the first three months of the year.

Sestak used $1,067,570 on TV ad buys from Philly’s Dudley Media, while paying Sway of Bethesda, MD $37K for media production.

Sestak spent $32,400 on polling from DC-based Normington Petts & Associates and $8,221 for fundraising help from GSI, Inc. of El Segundo, CA.

Sestak paid out $86,784.64 in wages for 18 campaign staffers, though two employees only made it one pay period into Q1.

The former Congressman holds a significant cash advantage over McGinty, but he won’t want to sit on that money too long, with less than a week until the state’s primary.

18 Responses

  1. I’d like to hear what Joe’s supporters have to say about those staff salary numbers. This isn’t rumors, or someone trying to badmouth Joe. This is real numbers, you can see what each staffer made and its not pretty. How can anyone buy anything he has to say after seeing that for a “progressive” he can’t even pay his staff reasonable wages. If you can’t afford to pay your staff what they deserve, you shouldn’t hire so many staffers.

  2. Randy Paul-

    According to one staffer, he plagiarized his book from the term papers of students (not even grads) who took his bullsh*t course.

    Which is really ironic, because he holds the book up as an example of the honor/integrity he would bring to the Senate.

    Unfortunately, that’s truer than his supporters realize.

  3. This race is really less than ideal.

    But for Sestak, the staff situation bothers me. Hiring young male recent college grads without experience, without much pay, without any benefits, and using them for his own political purposes is not progressive in the slightest. It’s weird. And if he wins the general, we’ll hear the same “slave” stories on Capitol Hill again, just like we did when he was in the House.

  4. Same Old Same Old

    I’m not the slightest bit enthusiastic about McGinty. I would prefer a dead cat over Sestak. Sestak is simply a terrible human being and should never be given the power/privilege of a Senate seat. #NeverSestak

  5. @PhillyPolitico – It is not weird at all. Nor is it weird that “Fetterman’s FEC report has not yet been processed.”

    It is how bribery is funneled into our #BrokenSystem, so that Maricopa Indians can tell OUR Senators how to vote. In the old days, no one could find out all this crap until it was too late to matter.

    @Charlie Schmehl – Soon everyone will become as sick of this as we have been for at least the past decade of howling about it. Till then, all we can do is spread the word.

    @Observer – I took LCV off my incoming mailing list. How in the he11 a ‘conservation’ group can actively back a frackster? Disingenuous at very best.

    Admiral Joe Sestak for US Senator, fellow Pennsylvanians.

  6. McGinty picked up $5,400 donations each from the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community.

    …that’s weird?

  7. MCGinty taking a million from energy boards and claiming to be “one of the people” doesn’t mesh. McGinty is touting this “common folk” brand and yet is deeply involved with energy boards to the tune of one million dollar salary over 5 years. That is not being a common folk. Toomey will certainly make hay with this so we need Sestak to win.

  8. David…you’re enthusiasm for McGinty while admirable has blinded you to a reality called being genuine. Saying you are a “person of the people” like MCGinty has is inconsistent and transparent. You’re not being real. Trust me, this will be a major issue for Toomey.

  9. The DNC and every single super pac and group that isn’t a newspaper is sending loads of money out of their wazzou to elect her. It’s funny how desperate they are for her to win and even funnier if she somehow loses given the obscene amount of money she’s received for free. At least in Delco and Montco, I only see Sestak signs. But she’ll probably win. I won’t be voting for her.

  10. Same Old Same Old-

    Connection to energy boards would help her with Republicans. That would be stupid attack by Toomey that she’s “too pro energy business”.

    If he’s going to do that, he might as well hand her the keys to his senate office now and save $10 million. 🙂

  11. Toomey will have 10 million to highlight amongst other issues McGinty’s connection to the Energy Boards where she made over a million in 5 years. Democrats need Sestak to win.

  12. Charlie Schmehl-

    The ads are seen by Republicans too (particularly moderates) and Independents, who can vote Dem in November. The ads effects aren’t restricted to primary voting Dems. You need a combination of positive ads to build support and negative ones to tear down Toomey.

    Also, DSCC (with good reason) feel it’s a better investment than risking Sestak sinking his own ship against against Toomey, AGAIN.

    But, these numbers show why NO UNION is supporting Sestak. The unions supporting Sestak should really be using this information to go after Sestak, and McGinty and Fetterman should be using it to attack Sestak in the debates.

    You can bet the house that Sestak made his staff work a lot more hours per week for that lesser pay. At 60hr/week, he’s probably paying them close to $8/hour.


    Let’s not forget all the staffers he paid as “consultants” and cheated out of payroll taxes and benefits. I hope the IRS comes after his ass for that money, and makes him pay restitution to the staffers.

    If Sestak unclenched his butt-cheeks a nickel he’d been saving will probably drop out.

    This guy has used his PA house as a storage facility for his campaign materials as an unreported expense/use/savings. Well, it’s not like anyone lives there.


    If Bernie had any idea who Sestak was, he’d spit on him. Sestak has been a Clinton loyalist (or a parasite clamped on to them) since he arrived on the seen in 2006. He missed voting in Nov 2007 election (voting absentee) to campaign for Hillary in New Hampshire. The Clinton Delco operation ran out of his offices in 2008.

    Joe’s not the “pick” of “the establishment” because before Specter switched, they ASKED him to run, and he refused. Once the flipped Specter, Sestak DEMANDED the very seat at the table he has passed up. He then threw a multi-million dollar tantrum, sabotaged the party, and f*cked up an easy win.

    A basketball player who trips his own players to hog the ball, and blow the game, isn’t the kind of anti-team player the DSCC wants.

  13. I am angry that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is spending its limited dollars on pro-McGinty ads. They should not be spending money on the primary. Instead, they should be saving that money for attack ads on Toomey for the general election.

  14. I agree with PBURG, it’s disgraceful how much Sestak pays his staff (and how he treats them).

    Let’s break it down:

    McGinty: spent $221,000 on 17 staff. That boils down to over $4,000 per month for each staff member. Granted, her campaign manager is probably making a lot more than the average staff member, but either way, they’re making a comfortable monthly living.

    Sestak: spent ~$87,000 for 18 staff (but two quit, so let’s say 16 staff members). That boils down to less than $2,000 per month, which I know is what the average staffer makes from experience.

    Sestak, a progressive (yeah right…), who walked the entire state should also walk the walk if he’s going to talk the talk and pay his staff properly.

    I also worked for Sestak and while I won’t go on a Diano rant, because while I don’t care for Sestak and don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, I’ll say if you want to see how someone will treat their constituents, see how they treat their staff. Sestak’s progressive boat ain’t holding water…

    I’m voting Fetterman.

  15. The people of PA should not be voting for a person who’s support comes from outside of the state.

    Sestak is the choice of the people of PA.

    McGinty is the choice of the elite establishment. McGinty needs to go run for a smaller position before I’d ever vote for her for US Senator. What a joke the Democrat establishment is trying to play on the voters, it is a bad joke, and I’m not laughing.

  16. The difference in spending on staff salaries is why I will never vote for Joe Sestak. How could you say you’re a progressive and pay your staff so horribly? I get that campaigns have to be thrifty but my god. She’s paying the same number of staffers almost 3 times as much!!!

  17. The League of Conserv tion Voters has gotten its last dollar from me – supporting a fracker’s whore like McGinty. Disgusting.

Comments are closed.

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