Friday, September 23, 2016

Rise in 'dark money' political contributions fuel House, Senate races in battleground states

Political spending of "dark money," from donors whose names do not have to be disclosed, is on the rise, especially in hotly contested races in battleground states such as Nevada and Arizona, Paige Blankenbuehler reports for High Country News. An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics found that more than $308 million in dark money was spent during the 2012 election, compared to $102.4 million in 2008. Numbers are 10 percent higher this year, with more than $30 million in dark money—more than $19 million on Republicans, more than $11 million on Democrats—spent on Western candidates. (High Country News graphic: dark-money contributions)
More than $4 million in dark money has been spent on the Nevada race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, Blankenbuehler writes. Republican Joe Heck, who holds a slight lead in most polls, has received $2,028,671 in dark money, while Democrat Christine Cortez Masto has received $1,520,364. The race ranks fifth in dark-money spending, behind the presidential election and Senate races in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, which also are battleground states.

The U.S. House race in Nevada between Republican Danny Tarkanian and Democrat Jacky Rose has attracted more than $1.8 million in anonymous funding, ranking it eighth in dark money spending, Blankenbuehler reports. Arizona’s Senate seat, between Republican incumbent John McCain and Democratic House Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, has attracted more than $1.5 million—10th among all races.

More than half of all dark money in the West—$18,724,079—has been spent to attack opponents, Blankenbuehler writes. "Nevada and Arizona's Senate races stand out not only in the West but also on a national scale. For both states, this election season is crucial: Since 2012, Democrats have held sway in Nevada and Republicans are vying for more influence in the important battleground state; Arizona, while securely red historically, may be trending more purple this year."

No comments: