As we head into the summer months and Senate races start to heat up, the effects of the decision in the Citizens United VS FEC case are becoming ever more apparent, with corporations and Unions being given few limits on the money they are allowed to raise for their candidate(s) of choice just so long as the efforts of the third party and the political campaign are not coordinated in a joint fund raising endeavor. So far this current election cycle is well on its way to breaking all records for any mid-term spending spree. And, as should be expected, corporate spending is showing its capital muscle which dwarfs that of any labor union or most other groups supporting independent Democrats. North Carolina is a prime example. According to one report by the Washington Post, Republicans have already outspent Democrats in the traditionally red state by $1,591,021 earlier in this these elections. Republicans have reported to have spent $13,406,554 compared to the Democratic party which spent $11,815,533. And in the normally blue leaning state of Oregon, the GOP leads in campaign spending, having raised $1,682,815 compared to $$237,805. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/05/20/map-senate-republicans-race-to-early-spending-lead/|
In North Carolina there are plans for a $10 million dollar blitzkrieg in campaign ads attacking Kay Hagan for her support of the Affordable Care Act. According to another report by the Washington Post this seems to be the Democrats most vulnerable position. The spending comes has Hagan continues to hold a slim lead over her Republican contender. That race was tied at one point. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/05/20/map-senate-rep... .
At the center of the attack is the right wing Koch brothers run Super Pac American Cross Roads. If the early polls in the state are any indication, then State Senate Speaker Thom Till very well has a real chance to beat Hagen. In one earlier poll he led her 45-44. Latest polls, however, has Hagan leading by around 4 points. Of course time will tell if this strategy of pouring so much money will carry the same weight nationwide this time in the fall seeing how the objections to the affordable healthcare act are lessening to a great degree. Still the law is still widely unpopular at the moment with most North Carolinians who view it unfavorably by 54% compared to the 43% who support it. For a further breakdown of the latest poll in the state you can click on the above link. If Till in fact does win this year’s Senatorial race it would be another feather in the libertarian leaning Tea Party cap and would go a long way in undoing the safeguards that the law provides such as allowing children to retain coverage under their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26 and prohibiting insurance companies from rejecting anyone with a pre-existing condition. As a side note, most Americans who were polled on a single payer healthcare system turned out to be in favor of it. In fact the support for such a law ranges from 63%-48% compared to 36% who oppose it. The numbers of those who are unsure fluctuates greatly.
During the Mississippi primaries, similar spending dominated the race. According to yahoo news, http://news.yahoo.com/figure-another-senate-race-record-171915847.html;_ylt=AwrBEiGs_ZlT4WkA7lXQtDMD large corporate donors have spent the equivalent of $40 a vote compared to the $29 dollars a vote spent in Georgia. It also dwarfs the 2012 presidential election spending which brought in about $17.27 pre-vote. The largest sums as expected went towards Republican candidates. In total $12.4 million dollars was spent on these primaries according to this report. This primary was also seen as one of the key battle ground states where GOP insiders and the Tea Party fought over the future of their party. As it looks at present the Tea Party seems to have considerable influence with Republican insider Thad Coachran being forced to face a runoff election with state Senator and Tea Partier Chris McDaniel. This close race really come as little surprise at a time when blue collar workers of the state see the continued decline of their living standards, a situation which has ignited the anti-Washington establishment sentiment both in Mississippi and across the country as a whole. But in Mississippi, conservatives view most government spending under extreme suspicion especially Federal spending. The latter seems to be one of the main obstacles facing Coachran who is trailing McDaniel in overall votes by less than 1,400. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/us/thad-cochran-faces-chris-mcdaniel-in-a-primary-runoff-election-tuesday.html?_r=0 . Still, unlike Eric Cantor who lost his primary outright, Coachran at least still has a fighting chance.
Then there is the Senate Race in Georgia where Democrats are looking for a rare victory in the traditionally deeply red state. Current polls show a rather tight race between Republican Jack Kingston and Democrat Michelle Nunn but corporate interests are now pouring as much as $6million dollars to maintain the current GOP held seat. According to one report, corporate backers and other third party groups have already spent $4.6 million dollars on campaign advertising which includes $920,000 by the US Chamber of Commerce. www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2014/05/17/groups-spending-big-to-...
Democrats also are finding record campaign contributions from outside groups. In Louisiana for example Dems have raised $6,299,180 compared to the $2,982,114 raised by the Republicans. And in Michigan Democrats are enjoying a fundraising boon having raised $8,808,726 to the GOP’s $7,216,079. The fundraising difference comes with the efforts of union support and the great distaste of the corporate takeover of Detroit. Currently Democrat Gary Peters is leading in the recent polls over Republican Terri Land.
Spending in Louisiana is not going quite so well for Democrats however. Incumbent Mary Landieu is currently trailing Republican Bill Cassidy according to all recent polls.
In Colorado, where Democrats severely wish to hold onto their Senate seat, they are outspending the Republican party $7,643,374 compared to the GOP’s $7, 379,604. The result thus far is that Mark Udall continues to lead his Republican challenger Cory Gardner. http://www.electionprojection.com/2014-elections/2014-senate-elections.php
While history shows that money in politics has a rather strange way of swaying voters to support candidates whose policy they disagree with, all candidates should take heed and pay attention to what happened to Eric Cantor and his loss in Virginia’s primary race, and being forced to give up his majority seat in the House of Representatives, against little known Tea Party candidate David Brat. A reason often cited is that voters are sick of seeing corporate interests taking precedence over those of the everyday citizen and the status quo is no longer deemed reliable in key areas of everyday life such as saving people’s homes from predatory lending to protecting local drinking water from some of the nation’s worst polluters.
Until next time…