March 21, 2007

Public Financing

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced legislation that would let congressional candidates apply for public money to run their campaigns.
"Today the amount of money spent in top 10 competitive Senate races averages $34 million per campaign, double what it was just four years ago," Durbin said. "It takes a mountain of money just to lose a Senate campaign. This is not sustainable."
Indeed. It’s a broken system. The main reason more than ninety percent of incumbents win re-election is the big fundraising advantage they have over their challengers. Only a select few can raise the amount of money to mount a serious campaign. This leads to the same candidates running for office over and over (example: Jim Oberweis) or candidates banked rolled by big business and special interest groups.

The pool of candidates leaves something to be desired. It becomes a choice between the lesser than two evils. Public financing of campaigns would increase the pools of candidates who can run for office. No longer would a challenger or incumbent have to beholden to this biggest campaign contributors in order to run a campaign. More grassroots candidates would come out of the woodwork to challenge incumbents.

Once in office, the politicians can actually being to govern rather than start fundraising for the next campaign. Money will still play a big role in election. But, public financing would somewhat even out the playing field so everyone can play.


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