Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Congressional incumbents have big money advantage

Bob Hall, the elections and campaign finance watchdog at Democracy North Carolina, has done some research that confirms what many political challengers find at some point: Congressional incumbents usually have a big advantage when it comes to fund-raising -- the lifeblood of politics.

Hall says the 13 members of the US House of Representatives from North Carolina "are crushing their opponents in the all-important money race" and have a 5-to-1 advantage. Hall says that, at the end of the fiscal year June 30, they also had "a smashing 13-to-1 advantage in cash on hand. The source of the big advantage, for both Democrats and Republicans, is their heavy reliance on donations from PACs - which so far supply more than half of the incumbents' campaign funds but only 4% of the challengers' money."

Hall point out that "North Carolina has a law against legislators holding fundraisers with PACs while the General Assembly is in session, but no such law exists for Congress. The report notes that US House members from NC have held 85 fundraisers since March 2009 in Washington with PACs and lobbyists to benefit their campaigns, an average of more than one per week."

This also seems to anecdotally confirm what many in both parties and of varying views believe about national politics: incumbents spend so much time raising money that they don't have enough time to concentrate on solving real problems.

Hall said in a news release, “Big money from special interests has become such a dominating force that it distorts the whole democratic process. The tea party activist, social reformer and ordinary citizen all feel frustrated and ignored, because lawmakers in both parties are preoccupied with raising money and wealthy interests get special access to shape legislation for their benefit at the public’s expense – on taxes, pollution, food safety, you name it.”

For more information on Democracy North Carolina, go to

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Imagine the advantage of being a progressive candidate with JournoList behind you. Worry about money in elections while the press coordinates attacks?