Friday, December 14, 2012

The Cost of Running for Office

Our annual ritual is over - election of those who will represents us. Some may question that statement, but that's cannon fodder for another day. Dominating media broadcasts were reports of this, 2012,  being the most costly election in U.S. history, often overshadowing the ideas and platforms the various candidates espoused.
Hundreds of millions spent by candidates and Super-Pac's probably should make us all shutter. Connecticut was not immune with the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Linda McManon,  spending nearly $40 million of personal wealth  unsuccessfully seeking this office - all for a position that pays $165,000 annually.  Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy whose campaign, although well funded, raised probably a tenth of McManon's funding.
I know the barrage of negative or attack ads was sufficient incentive for me to read a good book. We also see the cost of State Senate and Representative races significantly more expensive since the introduction of public funding. A Senate candidate can qualify for approximately $90,000 and a House candidate $29,000.
I think back to my first campaign for State Representative in 1978. Our campaign cost about $2,100, and we raised money in a lot of creative ways.  One of our successful and fun events was a spaghetti dinner - $5.00 a family - all you could eat or drink. 
Looking over some old East Hampton records, various candidates reported their expenditures in the 1935 local town elections. First their were no public funds. At the time were were in the midst of the Great Depression. Makes me wonder why we have all this spending for campaigns while we are in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. However, in 1935 the two parties supported their candidates - the Republicans incurred $53 while the Democrats $35.  Personally, unsuccessful First Selectman candidated, N.B.A. Carrier (D) spent no money while winner Ralph G. Sellew (R) spent $19. Raymond S. Thatcher (D), candidate for Town Treasurer spent a whopping $8. His opponent Arnold A. Simonson reported no expenditures. Thatcher won. I guess that's the effect of big money spent in a campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment