The election for the next Congress, like that for the presidency, is still over a year away, but already candidates are raking in money like it’s falling off trees. The combined total for just the first half of 2007 is 239M, according to the Federal Election Commission. And as in other cash comparisons, the news is good for Democrats. Total cash raised for Senate races is roughly comparable to the first six months on 2005, coming in at 84.8M. But it’s about double the amount collected the last time these particular seats were in play in 2001, when the total raised to date stood at 43M. Democrats have pulled in 47.6M to the Republican total of 33M. In the House, where all seats are in play every year, 157.8M has been raised, with 94.2M going to Democrats and 63.6M going to Republicans. Taking everything into account, a Reuters report said analysts are looking for somewhere between 2B and 3B in campaign spending this cycle, compared to 1.6B in 2006 and only 900M during the 2004, the most recent presidential cycle.
RBR observation: Much is hanging in the air at the moment, but almost all such unknowns seem to favor the expenditure of more, not less, campaign cash. The battle for Congress figures to be just as heated as the 2006 race was, with Republicans trying to regain territory lost and Democrats trying to grow even more. In the presidential race, the increasingly truncated primary season is going to limit the amount of time candidates can spend in many states, forcing ad buys to remain competitive. It will be interesting to see how big a revenue hole opens up after the primary victor emerges, and when the serious air wars for the general election will begin. Stay tuned.