For Mr. West, although his fundraising has outpaced all but two members of the House thanks in large part to his postal mail list, the majority of his expenditures have gone right back to paying for those mail solicitations, records show.
But like with those using the Internet to take away control from the central party committee by choosing where to direct their funds, Mr. West always has positioned himself as an outsider taking on entrenched forces.
Data show that while Democrats have turned a technological advantage into cash, raising more from out-of-state donors for its incumbents and open-seat candidates, tea party Republicans have funded many of their party-bucking, establishment-scorning challengers by crowdsourcing local elections to a national audience. Republican challengers have received far more out-of-state cash than Democrats.
The out-of-state technique is still employed by only a small portion of candidates, but it is growing markedly: The number of candidates who have received less than 40 percent of their individual contributions from home-state residents increased from 48 in 1980 to 101 so far this election year, FEC records show.
Adopting a representative “gives people a sense of empowerment. The key to Internet success is giving users a sense of ownership,” Mr. Starkman said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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