Candidates for the House of Representatives have a steep monetary hill to climb if they want to be elected this fall. According to Federal Election Commission figures, they have already raised more than half a billion dollars this election cycle.
The $556 million raised so far in this election cycle is $57 million more than the same point two years ago, and more than double what had been raised at the same point in 2002.
The results of the escalating fundraising war is both incumbents and challengers spend more time than ever fundraising for their campaigns, leaving less time for Congressional work or other forms of campaigning.
The 2010 House election cycle set a record for fundraising, with $1.1 billion raised, and it appears that this cycle will eclipse that record. And that’s not even including the influx of Super PAC money.
What’s pushing politicians to raise and spend more on campaigns? The redistricting after the 2010 census has shaken up many districts, either by pitting two members of the same party against each other in remade districts, or by shifting incumbents into districts where a significant percentage of the population has never heard of them. Also to blame are the increasing costs of television ads.
This has shifted power in Congress even further towards those members who can bring in big bucks. John Boehner’s power lies as much in his ability to fundraise as it does from holding the Speaker’s gavel. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continues to hold sway in her party through strong fundraising, having brought in $56.5 million for House Democrats this election cycle.
Considering the two-year terms that members of the House serve, it seems unlikely that this desperate scramble for cash will end any time soon, absent unlikely constitutional changes to the length of House members terms. Instead, we’ll have to get used to Congressmen and Congresswomen missing votes for fundraisers.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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