Monday, December 11, 2006

Money Edge Didn't Help GOP

During the campaign, I posted frequently on the question of whether the GOP's money edge would help it in a 'wave' election. I was rather skeptical of a prediction from Barron's that the GOP would hold both the House and Senate because of that money edge.

Well, Roll Call reports ($) that in the 29 House races where Democrats took over Republican seats, the GOP candidate outspent the Democratic candidate in 21:

According to newly released campaign finance reports, the victorious Democratic candidates were outspent by their Republican opponents in 21 of the 29 House districts where Democrats grabbed control on Election Day. In six of those districts, Republican incumbents spent more than double what their challengers did but still lost.

Twelve-term Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) was the vanquished Republican who spent the most on her losing effort this year, according to the reports filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission. Through Nov. 27, her campaign reported spending a little more than $5 million for the 2006 election cycle. Her challenger, Rep.-elect Chris Murphy (D), a 32-year-old state Senator, spent $2.4 million.

Next on the list of free-spending Republican losers: Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), who spent more than $4.6 million in his race with Rep.-elect Heath Shuler (D), and outgoing House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), who spent more than $4.5 million against Rep.-elect Jerry McNerney (D). Taylor spent about $3 million of his own money on his loss...

The victorious Democrats in previously held Republican districts who outspent their GOP opponents were: Rep.-elect Ron Klein, who spent an eye-popping $4 million to oust veteran Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.); Rep.-elect Steve Kagen, who spent $3.1 million — $2.5 million from his own pocket — to win the vacant 8th district seat in Wisconsin; Rep.-elect Ed Perlmutter, who spent more than $2.7 million to win Colorado’s open 7th district seat; Rep.-elect Gabrielle Giffords, who spent more than $2.2 million to win Arizona’s open 8th district; Rep.-elect Bruce Braley, who spent $2.2 million to win the vacant seat in Iowa’s 1st district; Rep.-elect Michael Arcuri, who spent $2.1 million to win the open seat in New York’s 24th district; Rep.-elect Brad Ellsworth, who spent almost $1.7 million to oust Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.); and Rep.-elect Paul Hodes, who spent $1.5 million to upset Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.).

The figures for Kagen, Perlmutter, Giffords and Braley include the money they spent to win competitive Democratic primaries this year.

The most expensive House race in the country appears to be the one that hasn’t been resolved yet — in Florida’s 13th district. Auto dealer Vern Buchanan (R), who is clinging to about a 300-vote lead over banker Christine Jennings (D), spent close to $8 million — including $5.4 million of his own money in loans and contributions. Jennings spent more than $2.6 million.

An edge in money is great, but when the tide is against you it doesn't do much good.

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