The Price of Admission to the House and Senate

The 2010 elections at a glance: Yes, incumbents have the financial advantage.

Read also: The rest of this special report, a note on sourcing, and MoJo‘s daily political coverage.

How much does it really cost to run for a House or Senate seat?

Total raised for 2010 election: $1.27 billion
House candidates: $706.8 million
Senate candidates: $568.1 million

Congressional incumbent reelection rate, 2008: 94%

Average spent by House race winners, 2008:
$1.4 million
Average raised by challengers, 2010: $166,000
Average raised by incumbents, 2010: $1 million

Average spent by Senate race winners, 2008:
$8.5 million
Average raised by challengers, 2010: $519,000
Average raised by incumbents, 2010: $9.4 million


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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