From Lincoln to Obama: The Cost of an Election

The cost of winning an election has skyrocketed astronomically.

Expenses for winners of the House have gone up $112 since 1986. For a seat in the Senate, the total cost has risen from $6 million to over $10 million, and the numbers don’t just apply to Congress.

The costs of running for governor in Wyoming, for example, rivals the costs of the presidency in 1861.

Wyoming has the smallest population in the United States with about half a million people. Compared with New York, Wyoming’s population is 32 times less than New York.

So what’s the cost of running for governor in a small state like Wyoming?

Republican governor Matt Mead spent close to $2 million in his 2010 campaign. That’s close to what Abraham Lincoln spent when he was campaigning to run the country. Which almost left him bankrupt.

Now, more than a century later, the White House is a lot more expensive.

President Obama’s campaign in 2012 cost about $733 million.

Governor Romney’s cost close to $479 million.

When you add in PACs, superPAcs, independent expenditures, and party costs, both sides spent over $2.2 billion; a record high for presidential races.

And for the first time in the U.S., 268 out of 534 current members of the House and Senate have an average net worth of $1 million. More than half of Congress are members of the millionaires club.

The so-called “do-nothing” Congress is in fact, the “very well-off” Congress.

Politics is a money game, and this country’s leadership rests on the highest bidder.

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