Big-money donors aren’t limiting themselves to the presidential race.
Wealthy conservative donors such as Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, and Donald Trump have begun financing down-ticket, state-level races across the country -- and it’s already starting to have an effect.
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) has already raised $57 million this cycle, more than double what the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has raised. The RGA is planning to repeat a strategy they deployed in Wisconsin, pouring millions of dollars in outside money into state-level races. From the Politico article:
“We put $1.5 million into get-out-the-vote efforts and it worked,” he said. “We’re going to be able to do that in states like New Hampshire, North Carolina and Missouri and others that are traditional battleground states and that are going to be important to the presidential race.”
Although the bulk of the focus has been on the presidential election, big corporate money can have a much bigger effect on state races, where a one-sided barrage of attack ads can easily swing a race. It’s also important to remember that state races are highly consequential; some of the most controversial legislation of the past two years has come from Republican governors and legislatures elected in 2010, the first post-Citizens United election.
This election is practically guaranteed to be the most expensive ever -- it’s estimated the total could hit nearly $10 billion dollars. The cost of getting elected isn’t just growing like crazy for the presidential race. It trickles down to lower-level races, meaning that future elections will be more expensive, less transparent, and increasingly corrupt.