Money Not Well Spent

Last month, Manhattan lawyer and presidential son-in-law Ed Cox (almost) officially dropped out of the New York Senate race.

Although Cox never really made any sort of impression in between announcing his candidacy, dropping out (May-October 2005), and then toying with idea of re-entering before quickly saying “forget it” again (December 2005-January 2006), he still managed to spend about $1.1 million of his own fortune, including as much as $150,000 a month into his own campaign in the form of no-interest loans and cash payments, in that relatively short and very uneventful time frame.

A source close to Cox says that “This was seed money for a serious campaign.” A list of Cox’s expenses, according to FEC records, includes:

  • $172,995 to Karl Rove’s former direct-mail team, the Texas-based Olsen & Shuvalov;
  • $286,474 to the Albany firm founded by his campaign manager, Lynn Mueller;
  • $177,185 to Web site designer White Knight Consulting;
  • $85,000 to his spokesman Tom Basile;
  • $47,850 for opposition researcher Gary Maloney, who worked on Rudy Giuliani’s campaigns;
  • $48,295 to Cathy Blaney, George Pataki’s chief fundraiser, and
  • $53,218 to a Maryland consultant to coach him on TV appearances. It is no known whether Cox actually made any campaign-related TV appearances.

According to Newsday, when Cox quit for the second time last month, he apparently left open the possibility of reentering the campaign, but only if New York Governor George Pataki gives his endorsement.

However, considering that Pataki 1) urged Cox to enter the race in the first place, but then 2) endorsed Jeanine Pirro a short time later, and 3) refused to endorse Cox even after Pirro flamed out in December, it seems like Cox will be waiting by phone for a long time for that call.