October 27th, 2010
05:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Cash flows in 2010 cycle

(CNN) - A record four billion dollars will be spent on the midterm elections this year, according to an estimate by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non partisan watchdog group.

That new eye popping figure dwarfs the $2.85 billion spent in the last midterm election in 2006, and the $1.61 billion little more than a decade ago in 1998.

To put $4 billion in context: that's enough to send about 80,000 students to Princeton or Harvard Universities for a year. It could buy every person in America 3 Big Macs with fries at McDonalds.

"The stakes so high this cycle that it's not surprising that there's an intensity that was perhaps reduced or missing in last cycles," said Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of The Center For Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money on its website, OpenSecrets.org.

The candidates themselves spend much of the $4 billion, but a considerable amount of the money is coming from political parties and independent groups.

According to the report, outside spending will be $430 million for the 2010 election cycle. That is far more than the $31 million spent in 2002, less than a decade ago.
And despite Democrats complaints about being outspent, when it comes to political parties, Democrats are winning.

This year the Democratic Party has spent $782 million, and the Republican Party has spent $515 million.

Still, outside Republican groups have made up for the gap.

Democratic groups are catching up, but still, for every one dollar liberal organizations are spending on advertising and other communication, conservative organizations double that with two dollars spent.

And while the national Democratic Party committees enjoy a fund-raising advantage over their Republican counterparts, nationwide Republicans candidates are out raising Democrats $1.64 billion to $1.59 billion.

Another fascinating 2010 trend: key industries are moving campaign cash from Democrats, to Republicans.

Take the health care sector: When President Obama took office two thirds of its dollars were going to Democrats. After the Democrats' health care bill passed earlier this year, the industry is now giving 60% to Republicans.

The same goes for money from Wall Street and the energy sector. Just last year both gave mostly to Democrats. Now 67% of Wall Street money goes to Republicans and 74% of campaign cash from the energy sector is filling GOP campaign coffers.

"The Democrats are not favoring their bottom line," said Krumholz.

She also said it's a case of big business hedging its bets.

"I think they've got their finger in the air. I think they're looking at the changing poll numbers and seeing that the Republicans have a clear shot at taking the majority, particularly in the House."

Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • Republicans
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Hugo

    So what do you think America? Time for some campaign fund reform and term limits? Put our governance back in the hands of the tax payers and citizens, that is what the true TEA PARTY is about, perhaps it has been simply led astray momentarily, I have the feeling that we shall soon see.

    October 27, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. mj

    Did you read the numbers??? Democrats outspent Republicans, and yet, Obama and Pelosi have continued to bash the Republicans on the money they spent. Back up the bus. Democrats are not only out for more control, more of the same spending, more of the same from Pelosi and Reid, but are determined to bring this Country to its knees. Just how could Reid's name show up on ballots before they are cast? Had this been reversed it would have been a media frenzy. Guess who is in charge of "Voting"? SCIU – Wake up America – Vote these socialists and crooks out of office!

    October 27, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Kyle

    Does this money get taxed as income for the candidate?

    October 27, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Ken in Maryland

    $4 billion that could have been put to much better use. Think of the bridges that could have been repaired (jobs), the new power grid that could have been developed (jobs), etc. $4 billion is enough to give 80,000 people a $50,000 job. What a tremendous waste of money that was.

    October 27, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. vic nashville tn

    Green bill to Ballot paper this shows how disparately candidates want to win the election I don’t think they want to server for us

    October 27, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. stevegee

    We The People have two choices on November 2nd:

    Vote for the American principles of freedom and liberty, vote for a free market economy, vote for individual responsibility and opportunity - vote Republican.


    Vote for the overreaching, overspending, overtaxing, overtly divisive agenda of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

    October 27, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. ron

    Well at least we know the Democrats are spending for the people, and the GOP are spending for the corperate crooks.

    October 27, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. JPM

    And those candidates want to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility? How fiscally responsible is it to spend millions and millions to win a job that pays about $150,000 a year?

    The fact of the matter is congress's job is to raise revenue to pay for the cost of running the government. The US spends more on the military than the next 25 countries combined. If you think a politician is against tax revenue you are fooling yourself.

    October 27, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. rob

    "key industries are moving campaign cash from Democrats, to Republicans."........ "The same goes for money from Wall Street and the energy sector. Just last year both gave mostly to Democrats"

    Wall Street and the Energy Sector are demonized by Dems over and over, they charge that those sectors have yhe Repubs in their pocket yet the Dems have been getting more money from these groups for years and years. This is never mentioned in this story.

    With CNN, especially Dana Bash, you need be informed elsewhere to be able to read between the lines to get the whole story of the Dems hypocracy. CNN and other Liberal media won't call them on it or report it at all.

    October 27, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. erin-mn

    The real question people should be asking is WHY are they spending miliions of dollars to get a job that pays $100,000 per year? Tell me it's not about power people. These people have no real interest in serving the people that elect them, it's all about what they themselves can get. Both sides are so out of touch with the "real people" it's a joke, but sadly most people won't question anything these politicians do, they will just continue to vote blindly, because that's what they've always done...

    October 27, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. angry liberal

    The Dems and Repubs buy and sell elections. Time for a Change. No – really this time. We already tried Obama's pretend Change.

    October 27, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Randy

    The tea party is siding with the wrong arm of the government...As soon as the pubs get their power back they will lift the only protection the middle class has against the huge health care and wall street corporations. It will be the final blow for many. And the coruption will continue.

    October 27, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Two words: Citizens United

    Four words: Impeach Chief Justice Roberts

    October 27, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Sgt. Joe

    Thanks to the Supreme Court for making corporations "humans". It's obscene, really. Someone complaining about the Dems taking all the money....laughable! Better find that "brain"you claim to have.

    October 27, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. key

    That would have been a nice job starter. Nice way to go Supreme Court

    October 27, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Sgt. Joe

    Did you notice who the healthcare & Wall St. companies are donating to now? Big swing to GOP...gee, wonder why?

    October 27, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. Ralph

    Wow that is a big amount! Anyway- You would think so much money there would be more canidates that would be able to tell you their plans... Like Palidino, I'm gonna clean up Albany with a baseball bat, and cut the deficit- Ok great but how? You keep saying it. Cumo- says the areas he will cut, what areas are you gonna cut? Then we have Christine O'Donnle saying i'm not a witch (now you know how Obama felt). But she should have owned up to it... yes I said silly stuff, but it is life, we are not already perfect. And it is the same with some dems, as well as other repubs... But whatever... hopefully those people lose!

    October 27, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. once upon a horse

    and this country is supposed to be just coming out of recession and the unemployment numbers are still 9%..YET both parties have no problem throwing such cash around. And we think these people are going to balance our budget? Give me a break!!

    October 27, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    The Democrats will not be able to buy their way out of bad performance and bad politics this time. The giant otherwise known as the American public has been awakened.

    October 27, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. camel

    4 billion geez thats almost another stimulus pack right there. I would like my big macs though =)

    October 27, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Kala Katz

    Campaign finance reform? Oh, yeah... that really worked for the 2008 Presidential race. Both candidates pledged to stay within the 85million finance reform limit. One, however, decided that wasn't enough, and decided that was one campaign pledge he wasn't keeping (among about 2 dozen others). He ended the campaign spending 600million.

    October 27, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. Take it back

    We should take the country back by having TEA party like rallies nationwide. And get young educated college students in as congressmen, senators, and governors. Kids who have management degrees and know what it takes to get this country on track. Not old men and women who want to fill their pockets.

    October 27, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Bill

    Is this how they stimulate the economy?

    October 27, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. CoqCheney

    Anybody ever wonder what the economy would look like if you took all the party advert money and all the lobbying money, and credited it back against the cost of goods/services in this country? You'd have a lot of middle-class Americans who are perfectly happy, and a lot of unemployed politicians (and all suck-ups who work for/with them). The problems in this country do not start with the government itself, but with the way money is used to manipulate it.

    Free and equal ad time for any candidate at any level; an end to lobbying beyond legitimate, TRANSPARENT discussion; an end to fund-raising and corporate donations across the board... we'd find ALL other issues would become MUCH more manageable.

    October 27, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  25. Mike in Madison

    4 billion dollars...I have always said that all elections are bought. Now I have proof.
    Way to run this country...into the ground!!!

    October 27, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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