Campaign Funds Pour Into New Hampshire
By William Frothingham and Rhiannon Pabich
Boston University News Service
WASHINGTON – As she has throughout the entire 2011-2012 election cycle, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster continues to outraise her Republican opponent, Rep. Charles Bass, in the closing weeks of the campaign, according to a pre-general election report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
In the report, which covers the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17, Kuster raised over $200,000 in the contest for New Hampshire’s 2nd District, while Bass raised almost $114,000, bringing their respective fundraising totals to $2.83 million to $1.9 million for the election cycle. That gives Kuster, who narrowly lost a 2010 race to Bass, a $936,000 advantage for the cycle.
Kuster’s financial advantage is unusual, since incumbents generally hold the fundraising edge in congressional races.
In District 1, in another 2010 rematch, former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter outraised Republican Rep. Frank Guinta by $161,000 to $120,000 during the same pre-general election period. Shea-Porter served for two terms in Congress before losing her seat to Guinta two years ago.
While Shea-Porter also outraised Guinta during the third quarter of 2012, Guinta retains an advantage for the overall election cycle. He has raised more than $1.6 million, while Shea-Porter has brought in roughly $1.4 million.
The two Granite State congressional districts represented by Bass and Guinta are currently the only two U.S. House seats in New England held by Republicans, and are among just a handful of House races in the region considered to be competitive in next Tuesday’s election.
As a result, a cascade of campaign funding has poured into New Hampshire this fall from groups outside the state, in an effort to sway the outcome. A significant portion of this has been spurred by the 2010 Citizens United case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that groups not coordinating with a candidate’s committee could raise and spend unlimited amounts of money either advocating for or against a candidate.
Consequently, in addition to direct donations from individuals, political parties, and political action committees to the campaigns of the candidates, so-called “Super PACs” and other outside “independent expenditure” groups have pumped a combined total of just under $10 million into the two closely contested New Hampshire House races – more than has spent by the candidates themselves.
Of this total, nearly $5.24 million has been spent in the 2nd District, while about $4.75 million has been gone into the 1st District.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee – the campaign arms of House Democratic and Republican caucuses — have made significant expenditures in both district.
Through the beginning of this week,, the DCCC had spent more than $1.3 million opposing Bass, and the NRCC spent $330,000 opposing Kuster. Those groups have spent $1.95 million and $1.69 million, respectively, on this year’s 2nd District race – largely on advertising.
The DCCC also spent $1.25 million opposing Guinta during the week ending this past Monday, for a total of $1.9 million for the election cycle. Meanwhile, the American Action Network, a Washington-based conservative advocacy group, spent $637,000 opposing Shea-Porter during the same period, for total spending of $1.83 million by that organization on the 1st District race.
According to the latest FEC filing, Kuster entered the final weeks of the campaign with $615,000 in her campaign treasury to $526,000 for Bass, after having outspent Bass by $509,000 to $340,000 in the first half of October.
Guinta entered the homestretch of the campaign with a significant advantage in terms of his campaign treasury. He had almost $500,000 on hand, as compared to about $115,000 for Shea-Porter.