But first, some numbers. Sorry:
Kamala Harris led the pack with $1.04 million in donations in the last six months of '09 and has a war chest of $1.25 million. Ted Lieu pulled in $577,074 over the same period and has $1.023M in cash-on hand. Rocky Delgadillo raised just over $500,000 in the latter half of '09 and has $1.19 million all told. And Alberto Torrico raised $411,000 and boasts a war chest of $1.13M. Meanwhile, Facebook macher Chris Kelly has cash-on-hand of $2.034 million -- but, then, he did write himself that $2 million check.
(Finally, it warrants mentioning that Harris' 2009 expenditures -- $1.15 million -- are around three or four times higher than her colleagues'.)
Anyhow, here's where we're going with this. During roughly the same time period in 2006, Delgadillo raised $1.6M and had a $2.2M war chest while Jerry Brown banked $1.4M and boasted nearly nearly $4M in cash.
So while it makes sense that it's harder to shake down donors in a down economy, it also makes sense that it's harder to separate money from donors when you have a crowded field of candidates most voters haven't heard of. And while Brown and Delgadillo garnered slightly more money by this point last time around, that was a straightforward, two-man race between a well-known, well-connected former governor and a Southern California challenger who knew he had to fund-raise like mad to have a shot (he lost).
"I think money is on the sideline waiting to see where the strongest candidacy is going to emerge," University of San Francisco professor Corey Cook told SF Weekly. "It's not as if money isn't being raised and spent. This isn't the recession that's keeping money away. I think the race is taking longer to get started. This race doesn't seem to have a clear front-runner or even an idea of what the ideological scope of the field may look like yet. It's a wide-open field."
And it's a recession!