amended 5:00 p.m., 12/3/2010
LANSING –The candidates and interest groups spent $30 million in Michigan’s three most competitive congressional elections in 2010. Overall, the candidates’ spending was $12.2 million and outside groups spent $17.9 million.
Spending totaled $14.1 million in the 7th District, where Republican Tim Walberg won back the seat he had lost to Democrat Mark Schauer in 2008. Schauer’s campaign committee spent more than Walberg’s, $3.3 million to $1.6 million, and outside groups supporting Schauer outspent those supporting Walberg, $4.7 million to $4.5 million.
Top outside spenders supporting Walberg were: National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), $1,468,370; Michigan Republican Party, $1,455,815; American Future Fund, $506,761; American Action Network, $370,000; and, Americans for Prosperity, $322,763.
Top outside spenders supporting Schauer were: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), $1,450,922; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), $1,417,860; Service Employees International Union (SEIU), $437,567; League of Conservation Voters, $386,327; and, Blue Green Alliance, $327,246.
The 9th District in Oakland County was the second most expensive contest in Michigan in 2010 at $9.1 million. Freshman Democratic Rep. Gary Peters held his seat despite being outspent by Republican Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski and his supporters.
Peters’ campaign committee raised and spent more money than Raczkowski’s, $3,364,489 to $1,808,323. However, outside groups supporting Raczkowski outspent those supporting Peters, $3.1 million to $860,000.
Leading spenders supporting Raczkowski were the Michigan Republican Party, $2,316,452, and Americans for Tax Reform, $523,284. The DCCC spent $534,563 to help Peters.
The 1st District contest to fill the seat vacated by Bart Stupak was the third most expensive at $6.9 million. Republican Dan Benishek’s campaign committee outspent Democrat Gary McDowell, $1,295,680 to $790,649, and Benishek’s supporters outspent McDowell’s, $3.3 million to $1.5 million.
The leading spenders supporting Benishek were: NRCC, $1,084,650; Michigan Republican Party, $1,010,405; Americans for Prosperity, $365,709; American Future Fund, $309,956; and, the Faith & Freedom Coalition, $209,988.
The DCCC spent $1,339,158 to help McDowell.
The overwhelmingly negative tone of the 2010 campaigns is reflected in the spending of the outside groups. In the 7th District, $6.8 million (75%) of outside spending had an ‘opposition’ message. In the 9th District, $3.5 million (90%) was opposing a candidate, and in the 1st District, $3.9 million (82%) was spent for opposition messages.
“It’s quite clear what the Citizens United decision has unleashed,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “Going forward, competitive races will belong to the parties and interest groups, not the candidates. That’s a unique twist on the old notion of democracy.”
Data cited in this release were taken from the candidates’ campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics’ compilations of independent expenditures and electioneering communications filed with the F.E.C., and television spending data collected by MCFN from the public files of Michigan broadcasters and cable systems.