Following an exclusive interview with $20 million Democrat Bernard Fensterwald III, in which The Capitolist suggested that Fensterwald might make prospective House speaker Chris Sprowls “feel the Bern,” Florida Politics’ publisher Peter Schorsch responded with an in-depth take-down of Fensterwald as a political threat.
Schorsch concludes, perhaps correctly, that a 5:1 cash advantage could easily be countered by Sprowls. But that analysis misses the larger point of the story: that if Fensterwald does push all his chips into the middle, it creates a domino effect. Sprowls himself might survive. But if he drains resources from other vulnerable GOP candidates, like Bob Cortes, Mike Miller, Shawn Harrison, John Couriel and Manny Diaz Jr, one or more of these guys may not experience the joy of kissing Richard Corcoran’s ring after November.
Yet all this speculation may be irrelevant.
Fensterwald refuses to go into detail about self-funding his campaign, carefully choosing his words to avoid tipping his hand. Pressed late Thursday for a reaction to Schorsch’s analysis, Fensterwald avoided the financial implications and focused on superficial messaging:
“Well, I think I have issues that will resonate with the voters, particularly in light of the popularity of Trump and Sanders. They are opposed to business as usual.”
The list of candidates who think they can ride the outsider wave – especially this election cycle – is long and undistinguished. And the road to political irrelevance is paved with people who think campaigns are won in some magic moment where voters surge forth after hearing the candidate’s “winning message.”
So the question boils down to how Fensterwald plans to reach those voters with whom he thinks his winning message will resonate. And to put it mildly, skepticism is growing.
“I guess they will just have to wait and see,” he says, “I acknowledge that my opponent has a fundraising advantage.”
Talk is cheap. Campaigns are expensive. Until Bernie drops a helicopter-load of cash on Sprowls, his strategy of winning messages and resonating issues amounts to little more than intellectual masturbation.