Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Outside money fuels Missouri Senate race

Outside money fuels Missouri Senate race; Control of Congress bring millions into the 'Show me' state; The Associated Press; Updated: 1:26 p.m. ET Oct 4, 2006

WASHINGTON - Outside money is streaming into Missouri's U.S. Senate race as national political parties try to sway the outcome of a contest that polls are calling a dead heat.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee so far has spent about $1.4 million on television ads to boost State Auditor Claire McCaskill and slam her opponent, Republican Sen. Jim Talent, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Its counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has poured about $2.3 million into the state for ads, surveys and other expenses in the past two weeks.

And that's just the beginning of a torrent of funds expected to be spent by outside groups, swelling the millions that Talent and McCaskill will spend on their own. The nationally watched race is one of a handful that could determine whether Democrats regain control of the Senate.

"This is the time when negative advertising starts to emerge in a prominent way," said Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. "That's best paid for and done by the respective political parties and that's why you're going to see them carrying the bulk of the financial water, maybe for the duration of the campaign."

"The NRSC will spend what it takes to highlight the differences between Senator Talent's common sense values and Claire McCaskill's affinity for hiding her liberal views by saying different things in different parts of the state," said NRSC spokesman Brian Walton.

The DSCC launched an ad last week that calls the Medicare drug plan "a billion dollar giveaway to the big drug companies" and highlights Talent's support for the program, along with his contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who heads the Democratic committee, said the millions spent by the party has helped Democratic candidates put their Republican opponents on the defensive.

"Countless polls and news stories from this past weekend confirmed the same amazing piece of news," Schumer said Tuesday in a message to supporters. "If the midterm elections were held today, Democrats would win the six seats necessary to retake the United States Senate."

Most of the outside funds are "independent expenditures" that are not coordinated with the campaigns. These unlimited funds are often aimed at supporting the candidate with TV ads.

The committees can also spend up to $700,600 in "coordinated expenditures" to help pay for campaign expenses and operations to get out the vote.

Records show the Republican committee has given $593,000 in coordinated money to Talent's campaign. The DSCC has contributed about $275,000 in coordinated expenses to McCaskill's campaign.

The Democratic committee also has funneled more than $1.4 million to the Missouri Democratic Party to help organizers get supporters to the polls.

McCaskill's campaign, which has raised less than half the funds Talent has, stands to benefit most from the influx of outside money. Earlier this year, the DSCC pledged to spend about $6 million on TV ads in Missouri from late August through the election.

Comment: How have direct elections for the U.S. Senate helped democracy or the citizenry; it hasn’t. Big party money along with the lobbyist furthers their agendas at the expense of the people, communities, and the states. Its time the American people woke up to the destruction caused by Democrats and Republicans alike.


BizzyBlog said...

There is no disputing that the 17th was a mistake.

The smaller states are the most ridiculous. Someone like Tom Daschle would NEVER have been selected by the SD legislature.

Brian Duffy said...

It comes down to money. Influence has taken over the process of electing Senators. The people or citizens are merely the stooges for the puppeteers. I know this seems jaded, but when you look around especially in Ohio, do the voters really pick the Senator?