How much does it cost to run for Bishop? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I have heard since I became AME that it "cost a lot of money" to run for the office of Bishop. Having worked on numerous political campaigns as economic advisor and strategist I know the approximate cost to run for City Councilman, Mayor, Governor or Member of Congress. Normally, the bulk of the costs go towards media expenses, e.g. paying for air time via radio, tv and print media, paid campaign staff and travel costs to meet the voters. Does anyone have an idea what is the average cost necessary to run for Bishop? Do the candidates actually use their "war-chest" to get their message out via air time? QED

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003


I have heard that it costs $250,000.00 US (that's right, a quarter of a million dollars) to run (and not necessarily win).

I will just let that information "walk around". It will probably add fuel to a growing fire, but you asked and I answered.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2003

I don't have a $ figure answer because that certainly would vary from candidate to candidate. You do need to factor in things like traveling the country to Annual Conferences, Mid-Year and Planning Meetings and any other Episcopal District functions that a candidate may "need" to attend. Plus there is publicity (brochures, campaign favors, booths at Connectional Meetings, websites, etc) that are a part of the campaign. It all depends on how much a candidate is willing to spend. $250,000 may be a low number.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2003

Thanks alot brother Bill Dickens for raising this important question. I appreciate you for the vast experience that you have having worked in numerous political campaigns as economic advisor and strategist.Since i am campaign manager for the 17th of Rev N jordan Mkwanazi which task i am undertaking for the first time, i will need some tutorials on how to undrtake this task Spiritually and professionaly.

I do have an answer to your question but just wanted to say that if it cost $250,000.00 to become a Christian, few would afford.I thank Jesus for His unmatchable sacrifice that through Him we have are called Sons of God and are on the way to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus sacrifice is more valuable than any spending that one can do in accending into the office of Bishop.Can;t the AME Church come up with a system that will not cause would be Bishops to spend valuable time and money an activities that for lack of better term do not add value to the income of the church?I stand to be corrected.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2003

For those persons who provided a estimation of the cost to run for bishop, is this figure contigent upon the process before the General Conference or are we including costs at the General Conference as well in the overall dollar amount (e.g., booth fees, meals and lodging for staff, transportation in Indy, adminstrative costs, banquet costs for breakfasts, lunches, dinners held by episcopal districts at the GC, cell phone costs, etc.)?

I too think that $250,000 is a low number considering that most candiates who are running for bishop have begun their efforts about two years ago. I receive some of the perodicals of the Church and have noticed campagining efforts from early 2002. Now candidates are stepping it up a notch due to the many international meetings taking place this year. I'm sure it'll go up another notch once the candidates find out who the ministrial and lay delegates to the General Conference are following the annual conferences of the episcopal districts. I know it costs a few thousand dollars to run for a school board seat in a good size town. To run for bishop of a church in which delgates represent countries around the world is going to cost a hefty sum. Exposure is key! Thank goodness air time is not a way in which to campaign- that would be a mess.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2003

Well, this is indeed an interesting response. Let's sketch a simple model whereby we can better understand the economic decisions to seek Episcopal Office. Any model stands or falls on two things: a. assumptions and b. data.. For the sake of this discussion let's assume the following: 1. anyone seeking the Office of Bishop enters the "race" only to win. 2. all monies raised will be used for campaign-related costs. 3. voting delgates and voting-blocs or coalitions are free to modify their choices. The first assumption basically states that all candidates are rational in that they are driven by self-interest. The second assumption assures that no monies will be used for personal benefit or gain. The last assumption liberates voters from the shackles of voting "according to the dictates of their Bishop". These are the facts or data at hand-

1. there are 116 conferences across the 19 Episcopal Districts (81 in the US & 35 "overseas"). Voting delegates will be proportional to the respective conference.

2. Close to 80 candidates have currently declared their intent to run.

3. the minimum cost needed to mount a respectable campaign is roughly $250,000 (Harper's walking around number).

These facts combined with the above assumptions yield an interesting finding. I estimate that 80 candidates will raise and spend a combined amount of roughly $20 Million. Now since there are only at most 8 vacancies that means

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2003

Hey, What happened, I got cut off??? I'm not quite finished :-) Now where was I? Oh, yes, the "losers" will raise and spend an amount of close to $18 Million. This is a staggering amount of money when you consider the ENTIRE Connectional Budget for FY 2004 is a little under $12 Million!!! Now here is the clincher. The losers in the race for Bishop by virtue of assumption 2 have exhausted all of these resources on campaign-related activities. The Connection has no way to recoup these funds. When the costs associated with losing exceeds the benefits of the Connectional Budget you don't have to be an MIT trained economist to know that this outcome results in waste, fraud and inefficiency. We have witnessed the fiscal meltdown at Morris Brown College yet seemingly the pursuit of the Office of Bishop could yield a wasteful amount of $18 million. Are our priorities correct? I suggested earlier this year about the need to have "primaries" in order to pare down the number of legitimate candidates. Under current rules, if candidates don't voluntarily dropout the only outcome will be increased wasteful expenditure. First ballot voting cannot avoid this kind of inefficiency. QED

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2003


-- Anonymous, July 20, 2003

Wow indeed. If Harper's estimate is even close, then the amount exceeds the yearly fundraising for a number of our churches. If we spend that kind of money to elect bishops and allow one of our colleges to lose accreditation over funding issues, we are horrific witnesses of God. If we are spending money like that then we need to end the bishopric because that process is sending people to hell.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2003

Indeed, if the numbers are incorrect we have absolutely lost sight of our priorities. Campaign reform would be a must.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2003

Powerful discussion.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2003

The idea of primary elections in the church is a great idea. So how do we make it happen as a church body. It will cut down on allot of time, money and broken hearts. Plus it will allow us as a church body to concentrate on what's important, being witness for Jesus. He is soon to come..

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2003

Thank God somebody has the courage. The playing field is not levelled at all. And where will any overseas candidate raised that sort of money? This is completely unacceptable and I think the AME Church must really revisit this issue. Add to the bisphoric candidates all connectional and general officer elections as well, including auxiliaries and all the travel we do. Indeed, the saying is true of "join the AME Church and become a big spender!" Episcopal primaries is the answer. so that each district brings only 2 leading candidates to the GC. God bless

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2003

Let me throw in this question. Aren't we as "constituents" encouraging this type of spending? In order to "win" the votes of individuals in any election takes some real effort and obviously some serious money. How are we contributing to what many of you have termed "wasteful" spending?

-- Anonymous, July 30, 2003

I would like to hear commentary regarding how a primary would be less expensive than the campaigning process currently in existence. Are we viewing "wasteful expense" as the combined dollars being spent of all the candidates running for Episcopal office or are we looking at the individual expenses of each candidate as being "wasteful"? Some candidates have more resources, if you will, than others. (This is taking into account a previous comment regarding candidates from Africa running for Episcopal office). Would a primary be effective if 10 candidates spend a million dollars (or more) on his or her campagin effort and the other 65 candidates spend $20,000 before the end of the primary (to secure a spot for themselves in the actual election)? And, of course, beyond that point there would be more monies spent toward the "big" election at the GC as well as the expenses of being at the GC campaigning to the "big" election. I see a primary as a way in which to lessen the number of candidates running at the General Conference so that the distraction of electing a bishop will not overtake other important issues that need to be addressed in our Zion, such as legislation, budget and the concerns of our indigenous brothers and sisters in Africa. There has been discussion about a primary on this site in the past. If we are serious about having a primary as part our Episcopal elections for Bishop, then I think that further discussion on this issue would be helpful to help us strategize a way of electing our bishops in the best and most effective way possible.

I find it interesting that we are discussing campagin reform. I guess this topic is pertinent to both secular and religious efforts regarding politics.

-- Anonymous, July 30, 2003

We should have primaries just like in regular election. Since this process is so political. Instead about our leadership of our zion as a whole.

-- Anonymous, August 05, 2003

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