Rick Wiley

Presidential Budget Woes

Campaigns fail for a variety of reasons. Some reasons are beyond the control of the campaign and its manager: A crowded field, an upset or apathetic electorate, or an unimpeachable opponent. Some failures can be traced back to a candidate: Skeletons in the closet, gaffes, and laziness. And many flops fall squarely on the shoulders of the campaign manager; one of those failures is the inability to maintain budget control. In addition to a campaign manager’s roles in developing and executing strategy, hiring and managing staff, and being a surrogate for the boss, the task of staying in the black is solely the responsibility of the campaign manager.

Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported on the campaign of Dr. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon who has skyrocketed to conservative fame in a short period of time. The Journal scoured financial documents from the Carson presidential campaign and found “[Dr.] Carson’s team raised $8.8 million in October and spent $9.5 million—putting the retired neurosurgeon’s effort under water months before the first early-state voters caucus and cast ballots.”

It appears “Carson fever,” as campaign manger Barry Bennett called it, has become scarlet fever because of all the red ink. And sadly, Carson’s is not the first campaign to fall victim to budgetary mismanagement this cycle. (more…)