Though it’s been nearly 14 months since the last nationwide balloting, an analysis the Federal Election Commission released Tuesday about how the 2008 congressional elections were funded is instructive for what it says about the escalation of campaign costs in recent years.
A major finding was that congressional candidates in 2008 raised and spent about $1.4 billion, of which $938 million was spent by Democratic and Republican candidates for the House and $433 million was spent by major-party Senate candidates. The FEC analysis included 2,382 candidates who participated in primary and general election campaigns.
The $1.38 billion that House and Senate candidates spent in the 2008 cycle was slightly less than the $1.42 billion spent in 2005-06 but substantially more than the $1.16 billion spent in 2003-04 or the $936 million spent in 2001-02. Spending by major-party House candidates was higher in 2008 than in 2006 but spending by Senate candidates was lower, perhaps because populous states like California and New York held Senate races in 2006 but not in 2008.