With the confirmation of Barnett's departure from the 18th District race, the natural question is this: who's next?
The front runner has to be Ann Rivers, if by no other measure than her fund raising. With Barnett's departure, Rivers now has roughly twice the money of all other Republican challenge candidates combined in the 18th, and a $23,000 lead over the democrat candidate.
Vick is a distant second at $5195; followed by newcomer Anthony Bittner at $4371, Robert Dean at $3150, failed Congressional candidate and now perennial candidate for SOMETHING Jon Russell at $3124.
Drilling down further, Vick raised all of his reported money over a 2 week period in March; Bittner has used his family connections well but his reports only show sporadic ability to get the cash; Dean seems to have given up on the fund raising circuit, having only raised $100 since the 23rd of February; Russell appears to be violating PDC requirements by filing after the deadline, not filing electronically and not listing the dates of his deposits; seems to show that his congressional fund raising difficulties continue at the state representative level as well.
A "winnowing process" that SHOULD have taken place last February and should NOT have been made public is now underway. Will the process be decided by political viability, or insider party glad-handing?
The biggest problem the party has is that it cannot force anyone to do anything. Anyone "vetted" out of this process can, and likely will, tell the party to drop dead.
At a minimum, the Party hierarchy has incompetently shared it's strategies and concerns with the democrats; does expressing concerns to the public about the impacts of a second democrat in the race make it LESS likely or MORE likely that such a candidate will be found?
There is absolutely no good that can come from this bizarre and months-late process given how vested all of the candidates, their supporters and donors are. None. It's just too late.
So... who has viability here and who doesn't?
Do you really have to ask?