Candidate efficiency – the only way David will beat Goliath

Running for an open seat is much easier than facing a 5x incumbent. Our current  system of elections, more resembles a football betting pool, with score being kept as a function of fundraising. It has to stop.

There is nothing more disappointing when great, well funded candidates lose. I watched one last cycle, as Tommy Sowers, a man with impeccable credentials lost out to a mediocre incumbent. I’ve also seen firsthand the amazing upset victory claimed by Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell- a man with zero of the regular credentials.

Looking forward to the Democratic Primary for OH-10, I will face Sharen Neihardt, a woman who is part of the 1%, a lawyer (the preferred profession of political handicappers) and who can and has written checks to her own campaign for more money than I’ve raised in 8 elections (total). She may also be a great person- but, as a campaigner- her efficiency rating sucks.

Let’s look at her numbers:

Sharen Swartz Neuhardt (D) (42% of vote)

  • Raised: $838,992
  • Spent: $832,329
  • Cash on Hand: $6,663
  • Last Report: December 31, 2008
  • legend PAC contributions $163,308 (19%)
  • legend Individual contributions $582,335 (69%)
  • legend Candidate self-financing $87,000 (10%)
  • legend Other $6,349 (1%)

via Congressional Elections: Ohio District 07 Race: 2008 Cycle | OpenSecrets.

All that money- no incumbent, a mediocre opponent in Steve Austria- and the results:

Sharen Swartz Neuhardt, Democratic, 125,547 41.78%,_2008

That works out to: $6.63 per vote. Granted, Austria spent $1,196,189 to get 174,915 votes, or $6.84 per vote, but, when it costs $2 million to run for a job that only pays $178K a year, something is seriously broken.

While I’m sure Ms. Neuhardt has already started making the rounds at her office for donations (she collected over $101,000 from her co-workers at the law firm Thompson Hine that just relocated to Austin Landing from Downtown Dayton) she has yet to get her site up:

Turner has had no problem knocking out opponents spending over a million on every race, except when he was facing the hapless Joe Roberts in 2010 who only raised $6,170. Turner spent $784,285 to cover his but and get 69% of the vote. This makes Roberts the most efficient on dollars per vote- getting 31%. Others have spent much more- and got smushed.

  • 2008 saw Jane Mitakides put in $141,417 of her own money and a total of $401,975 to get 40% of the vote vs. Turner’s $1,058,000
  • 2006 featured last-minute stand-in candidate Dick Chema who spent $86,389 in a whirlwind campaign (he stepped up in September after Stephanie Studebaker dropped out) and lost to Turner who spent $1,112,107 to take 59% of the vote
  • 2004 was Jane Mitakides’ first attempt. She spent $71,729 of her own money and spent $440,435 to get 38% of the vote. Turner spent $1,018,127
  • 2002, Turner faced Rick Carne and no incumbent. Carne spent $567,746 to get 41% of the vote. Turner- spent $1,045,016

The vote numbers change from election to election. Here are dollars per vote Turner spent:

  • 2010 Turner $5.14 Roberts: 9 cents each. Opponent gets 31% of the vote
  • 2008 Turner $5.28 Mitakides .28 each Opponent gets 40% of the vote
  • 2006 Turner $9.12 Chema – I can’t find his total spent. Opponent gets 41% of the vote
  • 2004 Turner $5.30 Mitakides .26 Opponent gets 38% of the vote
  • 2002 Turner $9.36 per vote, Carne $7.25 Opponent gets 41% of the vote

When I ran against Jane Mitakides in 2008 I raised and spent about $5k- compare commercials- mine vs. Sharen Neuharth, who spent real money, and decide who you’d rather back in the battle against Turner, a candidate I’ve run against since his political start.

It has 3,500 views.

Here is Sharen’s commercial:

It has a whopping 365 views (I’m sure I’ll help it by posting here).

In fact, none of her videos on youtube has over 475 views.

If you are going to send someone to battle Mike Turner (Steve Austria didn’t have the will to try) in this district, you may as well send someone who can bring the issues to the forefront (as this site has done for the last 6 years).

My campaign site is up (still working through some issues with the CRM database) and accepting contributions. Please consider donating ASAP. You can use the widget in the sidebar on the right to donate.

I will run the most efficient campaign you will ever see- and one of the most informative. You have my word on it.

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David LauriShortwest RickTom McMastersDavid Esratibobby Recent comment authors
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   In 2008, any Democrat running in the seventh district against Dave Hobson’s successor was doomed regardless of the money spent. The Neuhardt campaign received about the same percentage of votes as Obama/Biden. They didn’t carry the district against McCain/Palin, either.
  You are more than kind to assign Joe Roberts the distinction of “most efficient on dollars per vote”. I believe that 31% of the district would have voted against Mike Turner in the last election, without spending a dime (oops I mean 9 cents), if there was a D next to their name.   

Tom McMasters

As per your previous post you will be running against:
DEM Olivia Freeman
DEM Thomas F. McMasters
DEM Sharen Swartz Neuhardt
DEM Ryan Steele
DEM L. Mack VanAllen

Friendly wager on how the vote will turn out?

BTW thanks for the link to the Ron Paul video.       

Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

I gave you a thumbs up Tom in hope you will stick around. I’ve milled around your blog and am in full agreement with your dislike of government waste. You seem like a nice enough guy, fiscal conservative with a lot of deep thoughts but not necessary a social conservative. I am curious though how you square running as a Republican the last time you ran for office and today you’re running as a Democrat, care to expound?


“Pancake breakfast”?   The 99% loves pancakes. ……… Dyer, Garafalo and Dogbite will write a bigger check than all the pancakes David can serve. Serving pancakes is not the high tech campaign one expects from Esrati…. You can’t win with this kind of campaign.  Focus David!                      

Tom McMasters

Shortwest Rick,

I believe – well Alizea just woke up so I won’t be able to type it out now.  But I do consider myself an independent / moderate that can pick out enough from both parties that represent my views that I can call myself both.  There are also enough wrong paths followed by both that I believe I can contribute to improving both.  

Find my article “It’s time for a Non-Affiliated Primary” for further expansion 

David Lauri

Tom tells Rick to “[f]ind [his] article ‘It’s time for a Non-Affiliated Primary’ for further expansion.”
It’s too bad there’s no way to link to that article. ;)

Tom McMasters

Hi David Lauri,

For this post I set my website to the article 
It’s Time for a Non-affiliated Primary
it is also found at 

David Esrati

This is not the same thing as an instant run-off, but I do like the concept of the instant run-off.