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What does money buy?

Three Republican candidates — Meg Whitman, Rick Scott, and Linda McMahon — have collectively spent $243 million dollars of their own money on their campaigns. Yes, almost a quarter of a billion dollars. That’s more than the combined spending during this election of the US Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, and major union the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

But what’s ironic is that none of these candidates are ahead in the polls. Whitman’s $141 million (and that doesn’t include contributions) got her 8 points behind Jerry Brown for the California governorship, while former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon has spent $41 million — more than twice as much per voter as Whitman — but is trailing by 18 points in her run for Connecticut Senator. Only Scott — a former health care executive at a hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion in fines for Medicare fraud — is competitive in his bid to be the governor of Florida, after spending $60 million of his own money.



  1. Jason Ray wrote:

    In America we live by the golden rule – he who has the gold, makes the rules. The amount of money being spent on the midterms is obscene. The fact it isn’t working in these three cases goes to show that a real grass-roots effort and person-to-person networking can have more impact than any amount of TV commericals. I wonder how much Tivo and Hulu have influced this dynamic 🙂

    Two other points that I heard over the weekend also may contribute – first, all the telephone polling organizations can ONLY call land lines – which means many technically sophisticated and younger viters are not being touched by the pollsters. Second, the closer we get to the actual vote the more that each voter has to actually look at what they are voting FOR as opposed to against, and that tends to hurt candidates like McMahon, who really don’t have much to contriubte.

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  2. Bert wrote:

    The elections are doing a lot to stimulate the economy. Who needs federal funding, let’s have more elections.

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Bert wrote:

    Hey, how did I post my message before Jason??

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    I find it so depressing that, of those three, Rick Scott is the one that might win. I spent the summer in Florida and followed his primary against Bill McCollum. I couldn’t help but get the impression that Scott was a completely corrupt sleezeball that would sell his own mother out to get ahead.

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  5. starluna wrote:

    I just listened to last Friday’s podcast of Washington Week (which I highly recommend – especially the webcast extra). One of the journalists stated that one campaign finance watchdog group estimated that $3 billion would be spent on advertising in the various campaigns this November. On the one hand, it sounds like it could be a great economic stimulus. On the other hand, who is making all of this money? And couldn’t it be spent doing something more productive, like weatherizing homes or rebuilding New Orleans.

    Jason, – many polling organizations do include cell phones, but according to a recent Pew report, most only have the cell phone numbers of people with both landlines and mobile phones. So, your larger point about pollsters missing out on important demographics is correct but not because the polling organizations are now allowed to call only land lines.

    Keep in mind that historically, young people tend to have low voter participation anyway. The exception was 2008, but it remains to be seen whether those young people who came out in 2008 will get into the voting habit. If they do, then we have one more reason to ignore polls.

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    Excuse the spelling. I’m not on my computer with spell check.

    These people are recycling their ill gotten wealth into the community. It used to be that the rich are the philanthropists (sp?) in this country. No longer. Charitable (sp) contributions have dropped by 11%. No longer are the rich helping the poor. They are helping themselves and hoarding income. All the better to press your representatives to repeal the tax cuts to the rich.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink