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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Email from Emory Professor David Cutler


To further make fun of David Brooks' "math" you might ask where did the $1.4 billion number come from?

I assume the answer is the "OpenSecrets" folks who compile statistics on hard money in campaigns.


$1.4 billion is almost the exact total raised for House and Senate races.

However, to put that number in context, almost $1 billion has ALREADY been spent as of the last month's reporting period, meaning as of Oct 1, it had already been spent on

a) fund raising itself
b) creating a staff and campaign structure
c) fighting contested primary fights.

The amount of "cash on hand" i.e. the amount that could still be spent is approximately $351 million for house races and $229 for the Senate. And those numbers are pretty close to evenly divided between the House and Senate.

There are 435 House seats, and 37 Senate races being run.

Average Cash on Hand for Democratic House Candidates: $430,153
Average Cash on Hand for Republican House Candidates: $376,720
Average Cash on Hand for Democratic Senate Candidates: $2,937,267
Average Cash on Hand for Republican Senate Candidates: $2,998,816

So, the average House race has less than $1 million cash on hand to spend for advertising in the last month, between both candidates.

The average Senate race has less than $6 million between the two.

So, let's say that Rove and his $60 million wants to target 30, close house races, and 10 close Senate races.

He could spend $3 million each on the 10 Senate races, DOUBLING the amount candidate spends.

He could also spend $1 million each in the House races, and effectively spend 3 TIMES more than the candidate.

Just $60 million is a HUGE amount targeted at just a few races.

And of course the "chamber of commerce" is spending even more than that.