Good government groups have warned about the increasing influence of money in state House and Senate campaigns — at one point referring to the potential for a “tsunami” of campaign contributions — but state campaign-finance statistics continue to tell a more stable story.
State Senate candidates raised $1.7 million and spent $1.5 million during the 2010 elections, according to the state Campaign Spending Commission, down from the $2.2 million raised and $1.8 million spent in 2008.
In 1994, Senate candidates raised $1.4 million and spent $1.2 million.
A similar pattern has played out in state House campaigns.
House candidates raised $3 million and spent $3 million in 2010, according to the commission, raising slightly less than the $3.1 million raised and spending more than the $2.5 million spent in 2008.
In 1994, House candidates raised $3.4 million and spent $2.5 million.
The statistics show that fundraising and campaign spending have not increased substantially in state House and Senate races since the mid-1990s. While political insiders who work on campaigns say money is important, it has much less weight than in gubernatorial or federal elections. Other factors, such as party and labor union endorsements and grassroots organization, can have significant influence on campaigns.