State Legislature Races Are Cheap

The thinking behind it, which was very ingenious, was that

State legislative races are cheap, and you can just put a bit of money into them and flip the statehouse…

And most people don’t pay a lot of attention to what’s going on in the states. …

But state legislatures are ground zero for where politics play out.

In the 2010 state races, where people don’t spend much money, he and the groups that he helped found — that were supposedly independent groups — spent $2.2 million.

It doesn’t sound like a lot nationally, but it can make all the difference in the context of one state.

So basically what you’re looking at is one very wealthy corporate captain who, when motivated enough, can exert enormous influence in a state.

–New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, Fresh Air Interview, on how one billionaire is targeting state level politics, which could be a template for national interests seeking to leverage their politics at a local level in these “cheap” races in the age of Citizens United.

BBC asks Mass. candidates: Can Money Buy Elections?

BBC was in the neighborhood this week, and visited the Wellesley RTS, where they talked to candidates for the Congressional seat represents Needham.  Speaking to Joe Kennedy III (D) and Sean Bielat (R), BBC asks–Can money buy elections? And is that “fair”?

Dump-goer says, “There’s no ‘fairness’ in American politics.”

Another, to the statement, “That’s not fair,” answers: “That’s capitalism.”

BBC’s Owen Bennet Jones, on the massive spending in the last MA-04 race (over $6 million) says, “That’s bonkers.”

Start at 2:00 mark:

“Take the Money and Run for Office” (This American Life)

Did you catch This American Life this past weekend?  Worth a listen!  Whole Audio at this link, segment audio in the linked titles below. Take a look at the descriptions of the different stories:


Originally aired 03.30.2012
For anyone who has ever heard the term “Washington insider” and felt outside — we are with you. So this week, we go inside the rooms where the deals get made, to the actual moment that the checks change hands — and we ask the people writing and receiving the checks what, exactly, is the money buying?