Behind the meteoric rise in campaign spending
Billions of dollars were spent in campaign financing this year, and much more is predicted for 2012. Candidates already are scrambling for dollars, with particular focus on large donors.
The crucial subtext in the 2010 midterm elections is money – hundreds of millions of dollars spent in record-breaking amounts. Actually, that should be “billions” – probably topping $4 billion this year.Skip to next paragraph
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And it’s not just on the well-known races for the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, several of which featured humongous personal sums from the pockets of wealthy candidates. (More records broken.)
At the state level, campaign spending topped $2 billion – or to be precise $2,075,394,657 on statewide races across the country.
It’s a terrific resource which collects reports submitted to agencies by all candidates for statewide office, including legislatures, state supreme courts, major political party committees, non-bond ballot measure committees, and lobbyists. Check out your own state or legislative district at FollowTheMoney.org.
With the reporting barely complete for 2010 (and some very close races yet to be decided) it seems certain that the 2012 presidential election year will be another record buster, topping the $5.3 billion spent in 2008. Or as the headline on an Associated Press story puts it, “Too much money in politics? Ain't seen nothing yet.”
There’s another way to look at it, and that’s how much candidates spent to win each vote.
The record here was set by tea party favorite Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada, who attracted much of her campaign money from outside the state. It cost her $97 per vote to lose to Senate majority leader Harry Reid (who spent a paltry $69 for each of his votes), according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance filings and election results.
Being a millionaire or billionaire doesn’t guarantee success. Just ask Meg Whitman ($144 million) and Carly Fiorina ($17 million) in California or Linda McMahon ($42 million) in Connecticut. All three lost.