Soft-money ban hardest on Dems

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Democrats must scramble to match GOP fund-raising if courts uphold the new
campaign-finance-reform law, according to a study of the 2002 election by
Brigham Young University.

A greater share of Democrats' campaigns was financed by now-banned
"soft-money" contributions -- the unlimited donations corporations and unions
make to national political parties that get turned over to individual
candidates.

Now, Democrats will have to adopt methods better employed by Republicans,
such as "hard" contributions made directly to candidates and issue campaigns
financed by ostensibly nonpartisan organizations sympathetic to a party's
positions, BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy said.

With anticipation of 2002 being the last hurrah for soft money, a flood of
money poured into party coffers, BYU said. The role of the money was magnified
because of the relative lack of competitive races and the parties' decisions to
funnel their mountains of cash into key campaigns.

There were only 44 closely contested U.S. House races, for instance -- less
than one-third as many as in the last redistricting year.

Although voters were subject to the 'most intense' direct-mail and
get-out-the-vote campaign, TV advertising in key markets reached
recording-breaking levels, as well.

Races for Missouri's Senate and Colorado's Seventh District House seats
pummeled viewers with nearly 13 TV ads per day during the campaign season's last
week.

In South Dakota, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson's narrow defeat of John Thune
cost the candidates, parties and interest groups more than $70 per vote, BYU
said.

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