Ramesh, placing third in your home state is bad, even worse than being a distant fourth in New Hampshire in the early polling — presumably the early primary state that would be Elizabeth Warren’s home turf. Her recent fundraising haul of $6 million in the last quarter is in the “eh, okay” range, but what’s raising some eyebrows this afternoon is her burn rate (about 86 percent, as she raised $6 million and spent $5.2 million) and the news that the Warren campaign already has 170 full-time staff. I suppose that’s one way a presidential candidate can claim to be a job creator.
Warren advisor Joe Rospars makes a somewhat compelling case that they’re where they want to be, that no one was going to match the fundraising of Bernie Sanders because he had so many donors from last cycle, and that they’re in the ballpark of Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. That’s fine, except the fairly well-known second-term senator is supposed to be out-raising the South Bend mayor. Sure, she’s probably going to have the fifth-best fundraising numbers in the quarter . . . and out of 20 candidates, that looks pretty good. But that’s still leaves Sanders as the higher-polling, better-funded New England senator running on a similar message, and the “fresh faces” like Buttigieg, O’Rourke, and Harris ahead of her or right behind her.
The campaign only gets more difficult from here on out. Breaking out from the pack in the debates will be more challenging with such a large field. Most of the candidates will be running on overlapping messages and mostly interchangeable progressive policies. What does she offer that the rest of the Democratic field doesn’t? That’s a big question for every campaign, but Warren’s going to need a good answer and fast, before the burn rate catches up to her.