Federal Politics

Published — October 30, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Outside groups outspend candidates in 26 House races

Redistricting sparks battles

Introduction

Editor’s note: This story was also published by the Center for Responsive Politics, where Viveca Novak is the editorial and communications director.

Illinois’ 17th Congressional District looks like it was drawn by an X-acto knife on crack, pitted with divots large and small and tendrils leading nowhere.

This misshapen plot of land, dubbed the “rabbit on a skateboard,” is the result of a redistricting process that made it slightly more Democratic territory.

That means first-term Rep. Bobby Schilling, a Republican, doesn’t exactly have a smooth glide-path to re-election. In fact, he’s in a fight — an expensive one. Through Oct. 17, Schilling and his Democratic opponent, Cheri Bustos together have spent $3.3 million on the race ($1.9 by Schilling, $1.4 million by Bustos).

But that’s not the half of it. Another $6 million has been spent by outside groups, a cool $2.7 million more than the candidates themselves have laid out.

That makes the contest one of 26 House elections in which outside spending adds up to more than spending by the candidates, according to Center for Responsive Politics data.

(Totals are through Oct. 17, the last date for which candidate spending data is available.)

Clearly in each case the groups saw their assistance was needed and that there was a good chance their candidate could win if they stepped in. In several instances, such as the Illinois 17th, it was plain that changes in the district’s boundaries opened the door to a possible Democratic pickup. Elsewhere, redistricting has handed opportunity to the Republicans.

In the Schilling-Bustos faceoff, most of the outside spending can be attributed to the heavy- hitting party committees: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee together have spent more than $4.5 million as of Oct. 30, the vast majority of it badmouthing the other party’s candidate.

But other groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each in the race: On the liberal side, they include Women Vote!, the Service Employees International Union, House Majority PAC and AFSCME; the conservative big spenders have included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the New Prosperity Foundation and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

The disparities between candidate outlays and outside spending are in some cases much more dramatic than in Illinois’ 8th. The 8th District of Minnesota (one of our Hot Races), for example, is on that list: Republican incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack had spent $1.2 million through Oct. 17, while Democrat Rick Nolan had spent just $536,000.

But outside spending comes to $5 million as of Oct. 17 — about three times the candidates’ combined outlays. The House party committees accounted for about half of that, but the conservative American Action Network spent $772,000 (which has since leaped to $1.7 million) and the liberal House Majority Committee laid out $632,000 (since up to $762,000).

That race is one of two in the House where even non-party outside spending had outstripped that of the candidates by more than $500,000 by Oct. 17.

The other is California’s 10th District, another re-drawn piece of territory, where freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham was hoping to hold onto his seat against Democratic challenger and former astronaut Jose Hernandez. In that contest, American Action Network has spent more than either of the party committees — more than $2.5 million.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT