Across the country during the last election cycle, billions of dollars in outside spending were put into races, and right here in Southern California, there is one race that appears to exemplify how much that influence can have on campaigns.
Incumbent Congressman Joe Baca recently lost to another Democrat,
State Senator Negrete McLeod. Baca and McLeod had raised less than $1
million between the two of them. But then a funny thing happened on the
way to Election Day. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg poured more than $ 3 million of his very sizable personal fortune (estimated at about $25 billion) into the San Bernardino County race.
Bloomberg's Super PAC, Independence USA, spent money on television
advertisements and campaign mailers. Why? Well, Bloomberg is a staunch
gun control advocate and Baca is a pro-gun Democrat.
While we may never know the true effects of
outside campaign spending in races throughout the country, the
Baca-McLeod race points to the strong influence that outside spending
can have in some instances. In this case Bloomberg's Super PAC spent
more than three times the amount raised by both candidate campaigns
combined. It is possible that Independence USA simply grabbed the
biggest microphone in the race and the people listened.
In addition, it is notable that paid forms of communication
(television advertisements and mailers) are still the primary mode of
electoral communication. Although members of the electorate may
increasingly get their information on the internet, they are still
watching and reading advertisements that cost money.
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