Campaign Costs: Comparing the cash flying around Alabama

Politics

Photo: MGN Online

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Let’s start with the biggest two races.

Four candidates appeared on ballots between the Governor’s race and the Attorney General’s race. State records show those four candidates alone spent a total of $12 million out of their campaign war chests in the calendar year of 2014.

Meanwhile, a combined 2.3 million votes came in for the four candidates.

That’s an average of $5.20 a vote.

But statewide – the total grows larger. Much, much larger. Candidates spent a total of $47,464,568.67.

Alabama only has 4.8 million people, according to the census bureau.

Remember Amendment Two? It saw a dogfight at the polls, coming out almost dead even.

It says the state government wants to borrow 50 million bucks, which you’ll slowly pay back through taxes. The money could fix up our National Guard armories.

Not that the campaign cash could cover that cost. Just a little perspective on exactly how far candidates will go for campaigns.

But we can get further into the weeds, so long as we accept that analyzing dollars-per-vote isn’t about setting a price. It’s about setting a level playing field to compare candidates.

Governor

Governor Robert Bentley (R)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 – $6,090,263.86
  • Votes received -747,357
  • Average cost per vote received -$8.15

Parker Griffith (D)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 -$1,154,473.99
  • Votes received -427,218
  • Average cost per vote received -$2.70

 

Attorney General

Attorney General Luther Strange (R)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 -$2,593,660.07
  • Votes received -665,958
  • Average cost per vote received -$3.89

Joe Hubbard (D)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 -$2,179,793.69
  • Votes received -470,662
  • Average cost per vote received -$4.63

But it’s also important to show the huge spending isn’t just for statewide races.

Let’s look at a state senate race.

State Senate – District 6

Larry Stutts (R)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 -$295,489.66
  • Votes received -17,605
  • Average cost per vote received -$16.78

Roger Bedford (D)

  • Campaign money spent in 2014 -$610,080.33
  • Votes received -17,545
  • Average cost per vote received -$34.77

Stutts spent twice as much as Governor Bentley per vote. He spent four times as much as Attorney General Strange.

Meanwhile, Bedford spent twice that and loses.

Again, plenty comes into play here. Money is just one aspect. But when you break down the numbers, you can see how expensive it’s become to win all kinds of political races.

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