Share

2012 spending record: $10.3 million for Senate seat, $1.6 million for a House seat

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Campaign 2012,Campaign Finance

Spending on House and Senate campaigns in 2012 broke all past records, making it the most expensive congressional election in history, according to an exhaustive new review by the Brookings Institution.

The new analysis found that House candidates combined spent $923 million and Senate candidates $587 million. The average price for a House seat was $1,596,953 and for the Senate $10,351,566, said the latest version of Brookings' "Vital Statistics," by scholars Thomas Mann of Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute's Norman Ornstein.

The spending was in line with the record-shattering presidential race, which busted through the $2 billion mark.

Their statistics showed that incumbents in tough races spent the most. In the Senate, for example, incumbents in safe seats spent an average of $7 million on their reelection. Those who won less than 60 percent of the vote spent $12.7 million. And the few losers spent a whopping $35 million. Their winning challengers had to cough up even more, an average of $42.2 million to win their Senate seat. All of those were records too.

Senate Democrats broke the trend of the previous two elections, spending more than Republicans. The average spent by Senate Democratic candidates was $11.2 million. For the GOP candidates it was $10.6 million.

In House races, Republicans spent more, an average of $1.8 million while Democrats spent an average of $1.4 million.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.