Midterm Elections Will Cost at Least $3.7 Billion, Center for Responsive Politics Estimates

For Immediate Release

Center for Responsive Politics
Contact: 

Dave Levinthal, 202-354-0111

Midterm Elections Will Cost at Least $3.7 Billion, Center for Responsive Politics Estimates

WASHINGTON - With
Democrats battling to keep control of both chambers of Congress and
Republicans eager to make gains, the money race is fast underway for
2010's federal midterm
elections.

By the time that every
dollar is spent and every check is cashed, the nonpartisan Center
for Responsive Politics estimates
the cost of the Nov. 2 contests
will be more than $3.7
billion.

"With so much on the line,
the outpouring of big money into federal campaigns looks likely to
continue at a brisk pace," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director
of the Center for
Responsive Politics
. "Additionally, the recent Supreme Court
ruling in Citizens United v.
Federal Election
Commission
could precipitate millions more in spending by
special interest groups looking to advance their own
agendas."

This prediction is a
conservative estimate that includes spending by U.S. Senate and U.S.
House candidates and political parties. It also estimates spending
by so-called 527 committees and independent expenditures on
advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts by outside political action
committees to support and oppose
candidates.

It does not
include a projection for how much money could come directly from
corporations, unions, trade associations or other special interest
groups in advertisements stemming from the Supreme Court's Citizens
United
decision that reversed the ban on independent
expenditures by corporations. These groups are now free to spend
unlimited sums on such advertisements -- and there is no precedent
on which to base an estimate of how much money corporations and
organizations will spend through this new political money
mechanism.

The Center reached this
conclusion based on its analysis of the last four transitions, the
data for which is displayed on our website here.
Spending on federal elections, CRP found, has typically increased by
31 percent to 35 percent between comparative cycles -- that is,
comparing midterm to midterm and presidential cycle to presidential
cycle. (Read the complete methodology here.)

Assuming this pattern
holds for this cycle, even a 30 percent increase would suggest that
more than $3.7 billion would be spent in the 2010 midterm
elections.

"This is the earliest that
the Center has ever offered an estimate," Krumholz said. "As
election observers across the political spectrum work to assess the
impact of Citizens United, this prediction offers a solid baseline
to compare new spending levels
against."

A Center for Responsive
Politics review of records filed with the Federal Election
Commission show that during 2009, federal candidates spent about
$305.5 million and political parties spent about $493 million.

As expected for this point
in the 2010 election cycle, independent expenditures by outside
groups have been fairly limited so far, the Center has found. The
top independent spenders last year included the Service Employees
International Union, with $4.6 million in such spending, the
National Rifle Association, at about $486,000, and the Club for
Growth, at about
$478,000.

The Center for Responsive
Politics is also offering a new way to track midterm election
spending. Web users can add the following OpenSecrets.org widget to
monitor the flow of money in real
time.

You can add the widget to
your website by copying and pasting the code available on our
website here.

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