There have been some excellent comparisons between Pat Toomey's 2004 primary challenge to Senator Arlen Specter and Ned Lamont's 2006 primary challenge to Joe Lieberman. DavidNYC has written two great posts comparing the poll numbers (1 & 2).
Now that there are new campaign finance numbers through the end of June, we can also look at the amount of spending in these two races.
To date, Joe Lieberman has spent over $5 million and in the 39 days between the end of the second quarter, Lieberman's total spending could potentially end up near eight figures.
In 2004, Specter only spent $10 million. The fact that Lieberman could potentially equal that amount is really shocking when you compare what that money was spread out over. Connecticut's area makes it the 3rd smallest state while Pennsylvania is spread out over 8 times the geographic area, Pennslyvania has more than three times as many people and almost four times as many congressional districts.
2000 Census: 12,281,054 people
19 Congressional Seats
46,058 square miles
2000 Census: 3,405,565 people
5 Congressional Seats
5,544 square miles
Following Pat Toomey's narrow loss to Specter, Jerome Armstrong wrote a great post, Why Pat Toomey Lost. With Bill Clinton coming out for Lieberman, Jerome's lede seems prescient:
There will be gnashing of teeth among Conservatives, over President Bush coming in 3 days before the primary, to deliver his ringing endorsement of Senator Specter that delivered the win (take a view at "Three for PA" and tell me that's not worthy of 15,000 votes). But Conservatives shouldn't blame Bush for Specter's winning, a campaign should expect it's opponent to use every piece of its arsenal. No, the reason why Toomey lost is that his own campaign blew it--they didn't use their entire available arsenal. Toomey's campaign didn't use the netroots that had coalesced surrounding his campaign. The decision-makers in the official campaign of Toomey profoundly under-utilized the internet, both in terms of in-state organizing, communication with supporters, and national fundraising. Toomey lost, and he could have won. They had the opportunity sitting here, and his campaign directors failed him by not grasping it. [...]When it comes to peaking, Ned Lamont is ahead of Toomey. And Ned Lamont's campaign is taking full advantage of every tool available. The YouTube group Ned Heads has 999 members. If you go sign up now, you could be the 1,000th member!
I thought Toomey would win all along, up until about a week ago, and then realized that Specter would whistle by the graveyard. Because in the end, Specter used the establishment, Bush and the extra money, that he's a part of to squeeze out a few extra votes where it mattered. Toomey was not part of the establishment, and needed to reach into his strength that Specter couldn't match. Club for Growth brought him a long ways. But there were probably tens of thousands of Conservatives on the web that his campaign could have embraced, but didn't. Toomey didn't hire campaign directors that could imagine this thing was what would make their own difference, Toomey didn't get that extra few thousand of decentralized volunteers inside Pennsylvania, Toomey didn't get that extra 1-2 million dollars from national fundraising over the net that would have tripped the light fantastic. Nope, didn't happen.