$33K Spent (Wasted) on State Rep Special

Both sides combined to spend $33,597 on the recent state house special election held in Strafford County, according to after action campaign finance reports for candidates, parties, and independent groups reviewed by John Nolan of the Rochester Times.

To put that figure in perspective, if the same amount of money were spent on all 400 state rep seats, total campaign expenditures would come to $13.4 million.

Most state rep candidates spend less than $500 on their races, and many spend zero on their campaigns.

Democrat Bob Perry defeated Republican Honey Puterbaugh in the election held August 9. Perry and affiliated groups spent $19,648 on the race, while Puterbaugh and allied groups combined to spend $13,949.

Perry raised $9,560 for his own campaign committee, spent $5,686, and ended the campaign with a surplus of $3,874. The New Hampshire Democratic Party spent an additional $6,788 – more than Perry spent himself – while liberal and union groups spent a combined total of $7,173. This included $2,466 by America Votes, $2,176 by Granite State Progress PAC, $1,540 by the State Employees Association PAC, and $991 by the Strafford County Democrats.

Puterbaugh raised $9,862 and spent all but $25 of it. The New Hampshire Republican State Committee spent an additional $4,112 on Puterbaugh’s behalf. The Strafford County Republicans donated $1,000 directly to Puterbaugh.

I’ve long argued that special elections are a poor investment of resources for both parties, win or lose.

fergus@ferguscullen.com, September 4, 2011

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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