“…(Y)ou can’t just waltz in and buy yourself a seat in Congress or a governorship,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, tells Sandra Fish of KUNC-FM public radio in Greeley. Fish tests that hypothesis in an eye-opening report for the station this week and concludes that plenty of wealthy Colorado candidates who self-funded their campaigns over the years had little to show for it on Election Day.
The report is timely given multimillionaire U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’s announcement he’ll run for governor in 2018. The Boulder Democrat and entrepreneur poured some of his fortune into his previous successful campaigns — first, for an at-large seat on the State Board of Education and since then in his campaigns for his five terms representing Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
Fish looked at more than 30 political contests in the state since 2002 in which a self-funded candidate spent at least $100,000 in congressional or statewide races:
The candidates spent a total of $23 million of their own cash on campaigns. But the self-funding candidate only succeeded in eight elections — and in five of those races, Polis was the candidate.
In other words, it’s a bad-news-good-news scenario: bad for self-funded candidates in general — but good if you happen to be Jared Polis (or one of his supporters).
The report also has a lot of other compelling data and detail for political junkies on the recent history of self-funded candidates; here’s the link again.