Financing the 2012 Election

Brookings Institution Press
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The amount of money flowing through U.S. politics continues to astound. "While not all expenditures are reported," writes David Magleby, "our best estimate is that at least $8 billion was spent in the 2012 federal elections." In this essential volume, the latest in a quadrennial series dating back to 1960, Magleby and his colleagues reveal where all this the money came from, where it went, what were the results—and why it matters.

Anthony Corrado examines the most important changes and legal challenges to the law and regulation of campaign finance leading up to the 2012 election. John Green, Michael Koehler, and Ian Schwarber discuss the dynamics and funding of the Republicans' presidential nomination contest as well as the Obama campaign's activity—including the role his Priorities USA "Super PAC" played in negatively defining Romney.

Candice Nelson examines in considerable detail how each side raised and spent its funds and the implications of their different approaches. Paul Herrnson, Kelly Patterson, and Stephanie Perry Curtis explore the financing of congressional elections. Diana Dwyre and Robin Kolodny examine the ways political parties raised and spent money through their national committees, including congressional campaign committees.

Jay Goodliffe and Magleby examine how interest groups raised and spent money—closely examining the effect of the new Super PACs. How did these organizations raise more than $828 million, and how did they allot the $609 million they reported spending, and to what effect? Thomas Mann concludes with a summary of lessons recently learned regarding the financing of federal elections. What changes should be made to the system, and what institutional steps would they require?

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About the author

David B. Magleby is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. In addition to editing or coediting the three most recent books in the Financing series, he is coauthor of Government by the People, now in its twenty-fifth edition.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Sep 26, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780815725626
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / Executive Branch
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / American Government / National
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The 2002 midterm elections were noteworthy U.S. congressional campaigns for many reasons. They marked the last national contests before implementation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) and thus were expected by many to be the "last hurrah" for soft money. These midterm campaigns provided a window on the activity of parties, interest groups, and political consultants on the eve of BCRA, as they prepared to enter a new era of American elections. The results of Campaign 2002 were remarkable. As the party in power, the Republicans defied history by gaining seats in both houses of Congress, giving them a majority in the Senate. To some degree this resulted from the GOP's new emphasis on "ground war" voter mobilization. Another key was the unusually aggressive support of the sitting president, who leveraged his popularity to advance his party's candidates for Congress. Th e Last Hurrah? analyzes the role of soft money and issue advocacy in the 2002 battle for Congress. Having been granted access to a number of campaign operations across a broad array of groups, David Magleby, Quin Monson, and their colleagues monitored and documented a number of competitive races, including the key South Dakota and Missouri Senate contests. Each case study breaks down the campaign communication in a particular race, including devices such as advertising, get-out-the-vote drives, "soft money" expenditures, and the increasingly influential role of the national parties on local races. They also discuss the overall trends of the midterm election of 2002, paying particular attention to the impact of President Bush and his political operation in candidate recruitment, fundraising, and campaign visits. Magleby and Monson consider an important question typically overlooked. How do voters caught in the middle of a hotly contested race deal with—and react to—a barrage of television and radio ads, direct mail, unsolicited phone calls, and other campaign communications? They conclude with a look to the future, using the trends in 2002 to understand just how candidates, political parties, and interest groups might respond to the new campaign environment of BCRA.
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