Voters vs. cash: Races could be turned by out-of-state money

Ad surges give warped reflection of true support

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

No totals reflect contributions less than $200 because their sources are not disclosed.

Incumbency not always key

As often as incumbents use out-of-state money to beat back challengers, the tables occasionally have turned the other way, including in the Washington region.

Near Frederick, Md., the talk has been that Democrat John Delaney is poised to knock out Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, turning a long-red seat blue. Indeed, Mr. Delaney outraised his opponent by 50 percent in itemized contributions last quarter.

But Maryland donors aren’t as blue as they might seem: Mr. Bartlett has outraised Mr. Delaney by half in home-state money.

In Minnesota, meanwhile, Republican Rep. John Kline raised $400,000 last quarter — in the top 30 of all candidates, and twice as much as his opponent, Democrat Mike Obermueller. But Mr. Obermueller raised more from Minnesotans.

Only one-fourth of Mr. Kline’s itemized contributions came from inside his state, while 55 percent of his money came from corporate PACs, such as those of for-profit colleges, which are seeking to fend off regulation. Mr. Kline is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Outside groups, literally

In the age of “outside advocacy groups,” spending by campaigns themselves is only part of the picture.

Newly legalized independent super PACs have thrown a wrinkle in seemingly every area of politics, but few effects are so pronounced as the ability they give national and out-of-state interests to exert control over local races.

The Times found that money spent by super PACs on congressional races almost always comes nearly entirely from out of state.

The Indiana Values super PAC opposing Richard Mourdock in the Senate race there? Of $435,000 spent on attack ads, $388,000 came from outside Indiana. The PAC was run by Andrew Klingenstein, a long-ago aide to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the Republican whom Mr. Mourdock defeated in the primary.

It was an arms-race response to fears about out-of-state money that caused him to establish the independent group, Mr. Klingenstein said.

“We were fearful about large amounts of money coming into the race from tea party or other folks, money not raised by the candidates. In the case of Mourdock, the money came in from Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the [National Rifle Association].”

“We tried very hard to get money inside the state. I can’t tell you why, but we were just more successful getting money outside. Maybe it was easier to convince people outside that [Mr. Lugar] was facing a difficult battle, whereas people inside the state had seen him re-elected five times.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks