It’s 256 days and several hundred million dollars until midterm elections on Nov. 6.
This far out, money is the political currency of elections. Dollars are the votes. And the bucks are flowing into the political struggle, especially for fearful Republicans, in a desperate bid to fight history’s pattern of congressional control changing hands.
Very early polls, fed by encouraging economic and hiring numbers, are beginning to indicate a tight contest for Congress.
But history shows that a president’s party almost always loses seats in his first midterm election, on average 30 House districts, more if the president is unpopular like Donald Trump.
Democrats need only pickup 24 to make Nancy Pelosi speaker again. They only need to gain two Senate seats, but they’re defending 25, compared to the GOP’s eight.
USA Today has just done an interesting analysis of fundraising so far.
And it found that 10 really, really rich people are dominating the donating to federal super PACs.
To date, the report finds, Richard Uihlein of Illinois is the most generous donor, having already handed over $19.5 million to PACs supporting conservative GOP congress members. That’s almost as much as his total $19.6 million in all of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Next up in wallet-lightening is California Democrat Tom Steyer, the champion money-giver in recent political cycles. He’s “only” given away $15.7 million so far. But give him time.
Super PACs, as you no doubt know from your own generous giving, can raise and spend unlimited sums of money from pretty much anywhere. At this point the more than 500 super PACs have already raised $285 million.
As one measure of this year’s campaign intensity over keeping or gaining control of Congress, that’s almost twice the sum raked in at this same point in 2014.
The newspaper’s financial study found that 10 individuals — five from each party — have each contributed at least $2 million to super PACs by now, a total of $59.7 million.
“We never used to see this kind of spending in congressional elections at this time in the cycle,” said Michael Malbin of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.