Meehan Takes Huge Lead In 7th District Fundraising

Delaware County Times

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, has outpaced Democratic challenger George Badey III by more than $1.6 million in fundraising for this election cycle, according to recent Federal Election Commission filings.

Meehan had raised $1,978,480 as of June 30, compared to Badey’s $315,603. Meehan has a similar advantage in cash on hand, and his campaign released a statement on July 10 saying it had surpassed the $2 million dollar mark.

“It’s always difficult to compete with an incumbent,” Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau said Monday. “Especially one who is so enamored of special interests.”

Badey’s campaign manager, Mike Dineen, did not return a call Monday.

Meehan has raised $965,371, or about 48 percent, of his campaign receipts from Political Action Committees, while Badey of Radnor has received $41,250 from PACs, about 13 percent.

“George has a grassroots fundraising base,” Landau said. “He has a fundraising plan in place.”

More than 49 percent of Meehan’s contributions came from individual donors, worth $978,215.

“Congressman Meehan is proud to have earned the support of so many of his constituents who share his commitment to growing our economy and creating jobs,” Meehan spokesman John Elizandro wrote in an email Monday. According to this latest FEC filing, Meehan has received 642 individual donations, while Badey received 78.

Delaware County Republican Chairman Andrew Reilly said that Meehan, a former Delco district attorney and U.S. attorney, has drawn support from individuals and committees because of the high profile of his seat.

“It’s a measure of how much Pat has touched people. Pat has a great deal of homegrown support,” Reilly said. “In Congress, you get a lot of national attention from national interests.”

Badey, who is also a lawyer, has edged Meehan in his personal contributions to his own campaign, though. While Meehan hasn’t contributed any of his own money to the race, Badey has chipped in $127,500. Of that, $2,500 was repaid on April 4 of this year, leaving the campaign in debt for $125,000 to Badey.

In the previous election cycle, when Meehan defeated Democrat Bryan Lentz for the open seat in the 7th District, he raised more than $3 million. Lentz, then a state representative from Swarthmore, raised almost $1.7 million on the way to a general election loss.

Landau cited Meehan’s prolific fundraising from PACs as a sign that the incumbent has interests other than those of his constituents at heart. He said Meehan’s support by so many special interest groups means that he isn’t serving the people of the 7th District as well as he should.

“Half his money comes from special interests … that are trying to skew the debate,” Landau said.

According to the latest filings, Meehan has received $10,000 in contributions from Endo Pharmaceuticals PAC, Alston and Bird PAC, Boeing Co. PAC, Every Republican Is Crucial PAC, National Air Traffic Controllers PAC, PriceWaterhouseCoopers PAC, The Freedom Project and Roskam PAC, in addition to about 400 other PAC contributions worth $965,371.

Badey’s committee contributions amount to $41,250, with the largest contributor, the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association PAC, giving $2,500, according to the filings.

Reilly categorized Landau’s claim that Meehan is beholden to special interests as nothing more than political gamesmanship.

“That’s just the usual political garbage thrown out by Mr. Landau,” Reilly said. “He’s just trying to make a political statement.”

In a release issued last week announcing that his campaign had raised $2 million, Meehan said his success is due to people’s belief in his plans to improve the economy.

“Surpassing the $2 million milestone is a true testament to the strength of our campaign organization and to the groundswell of support for our agenda to create jobs and grow our economy,” the statement said. “Our successes over the last year and a half positions us well to communicate my message to the residents of the new 7th Congressional District.”

In the second quarter of 2012 alone, Meehan’s campaign raised nearly $500,000 — more than Badey’s campaign has raised in the whole cycle. The Democrat plans to continue his efforts at fundraising as the general election nears.

“He’s working hard,” Landau said. “Especially as a challenger, you’re going to raise more money as you get closer to the election,” he said.

Landau anticipated that the bulk of Badey’s contributions would come in after Labor Day.

Independent candidates Jim Schneller, a Constitutionalist, and Owen Powell, of the 99 Percent Party, have not yet gathered enough petition signatures to get on the November ballot, and are not required to file financial reports with the FEC.

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