Editorial: $7 billion in 2012 a new spending record for campaigns
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/02/13 at 6:57 AM
Elections are good business. At least in some states.
The Federal Election Commission released the tally for the 2012 elections and it totaled $7 billion. Yes, that's billion with a "b." That includes spending by all candidates, parties and outside groups.
It set a record. But as FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said: "That's not really unusual. They're all record-breaking,"
In October, the Center for Responsive Politics predicted that $6 billion would be spent. The prediction was wrong, but not by much. That sounds strange to say that $1 billion is not much, but with the word trillion being thrown around so much and so easily these days, a billion sounds like chickenfeed.
According to the FEC, candidates spent $3.2 billion in 2012. That includes all races, including the presidential and congressional campaigns across the country. Party committees spent $2 billion and outside groups (including super PACs) also spent $2 billion. The tally could go higher as the FEC continues to calculate spending by the outside groups.
The 2012 election could mark the first time outside groups have outspent political parties. Traditional PACs spent $1.2 billion and the super PACs, those who could were allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, totaled $950 million. Again, those figures continue to be tabulated.
Spreading $7 billion around the country certainly helps the economy. Oklahoma, unfortunately, gets little of that money, other than that spent by local candidates running for anything from mayor to U.S. Senate. The real winners in the presidential sweepstakes, where the big money is spent, are the swing states, states with big electoral votes and those with early, important primaries such as Iowa and New Hampshire.
There's no need for presidential campaigns to put money into Oklahoma, where the outcome is a forgone conclusion.
The $7 billion figure is huge. That threshold likely will broken in 2016. It's a growth industry. When that pie is sliced, however, Oklahoma gets the crumbs.
Original Print Headline: $7 Billion
Workers set up a stage at the University of Denver on Oct. 1 for the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. ED ANDRIESKI/ Assoicated Press file