- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House candidates easily will raise and spend more than a billion dollars this election cycle for the first time ever, a new report released on Tuesday shows.

Candidates will raise almost $1.3 billion and spend more than $1.4 billion this cycle, compared with $978 million raised and $938 million spent during the 2008 House elections, said the Public Campaign Action Fund, a campaign finance watchdog group. 

Spending on House races, combined with Senate contests, is expected to approach $2 billion this cycle, the group said.

“With all the attack ads, candidates have to spend more time dialing for dollars and less time talking with voters,” said David Donnelly, director of the group’s Campaign Money Watch project. “They have to feed the beast — the endless raising and spending for campaigns — that is devouring our democracy.”

The candidates raised $921.5 million and spent $733.4 million through the end of September — a 30 percent increase in fundraising and a 54 percent increase in spending from 2008, according to the group, which said it based its analysis on data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The projection of $1.275 billion in fundraising for House races for the 2010 cycle is double that of the 2000 election, the Public Campaign Action Fund said. The projection of $1.445 billion in spending is 2½ times the amount spent a decade ago.

The analysis also shows an imbalance in fundraising and spending between the major parties, as Republican House candidates raised about $30 million more than Democrats through September. During the similar time frame in 2008, Republicans raised about $64 million less than Democrats.

“Increased fundraising from wealthy donors, coupled with the secret outside money, is putting our elections further into the hands of relatively few Americans,” said Mr. Donnelly, whose group is pushing Congress to pass stricter campaign finance discloser rules.

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