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Capitol Cash (Judy Morris)
Ryan J. Reilly writes that Super PACs made possible by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling two years ago have already provided $12 million to Senate and House races. While Super PACs with billionaire angels shoveled money into the presidential primary at a prodigious rate, and will do far more in the general election, the impact in state-level races may be greater. That is particularly true for challengers facing incumbents with massive funding networks and name recognition:
So far, the race for Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s seat has seen the most Super PAC money, with $2.5 million in the race, most of it against the Indiana Republican or in support of his primary opponent. Tea Party Republicans are backing state treasurer Richard Mourdock, and FreedomWorks alone has spent over half a million in the race.
A place where even greater leverage may be created by Super PACs is in state and even local election contests.
How much further does $10,000 or $100,000 go at the state level? According to a Pew Center on the States analysis, in the mid-2000s the average cost of a winning state Senate campaign was anywhere from $5,713 (North Dakota) to $938,522 (California). In Arizona it was $36,696; in Wisconsin, $140,287; in North Carolina, $234,031. By contrast, the average cost of a US Senate seat in 2010 was $9.2 million.

Super-PACs playing at the state level don't need to drop millions to make a big impact, says Neil Reiff, a veteran Democratic election attorney. In a crowded state-level or congressional primary with three or four candidates, a little money goes a long way. "If you've got a field with little or no name recognition," Reiff says, "you can drown out everyone else."

Which is precisely the point.

At Pro-Publica, PAC Track, you can follow the money.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon May 07, 2012 at 03:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, State & Local ACTION Group, and Daily Kos.

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