The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Bielke,Communications Director,(Ph)202.293.0222 | (Fx)202.293.0202,

Voters Send a Message About Self-Financed Candidates in New Jersey and New York City

Election Results Show that Voters Expect More than a Big Bank Account


Public Campaign President Nick Nyhart released the following
statement this morning regarding the New York City mayoral election and
New Jersey governor's race.

"Voters sent a message on Election Day: they are tired of
self-financed, Wall Street-connected candidates. Mayor Mike Bloomberg
was expected to win by a wide margin, but he barely crossed the 50
percent mark after spending well more than $100 million running for
re-election. Governor Jon Corzine easily outspent his opponents, but
the tens of millions he spent became an issue in the election. In both
cases, the challengers were participants in public funding programs
that provided them substantial resources to be able to reach voters
with their message.

"While the New Jersey gubernatorial and the New York City mayoral
public funding systems fall short of what other successful programs
provide in resources, there is no doubt that Bill Thompson in New York
City would not have come as close as he did, nor would Chris Christie
have had the ability to respond to negative advertising, without these
public financing systems in place.

"It's time for states-and Congress-to look at alternatives to the
current system that lets us choose between millionaires and those who
have to raise money from millionaires. We need Fair Elections-style
reform, which blends small dollar donors and limited public financing
to give challengers the ability to run a competitive campaign against
well-heeled challengers.

"History has shown that self-funded candidates rarely win, but in
today's political system, candidates that have the cash to spare are
becoming increasingly attractive. Last night's results show that voters
expect more out of a politician than simply being able to bankroll
their own campaigns.

"In Congress, the Fair Elections Now Act is gaining momentum. The
legislation would free candidates for Congress from the money chase and
empower small donors. With Fair Elections, candidates can take office
unencumbered by the agendas and expectations of large donors."

Public Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics. Public Campaign is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system. Together we are building a network of national and state-based efforts to create a powerful national force for federal and state campaign reform.