More candidates spend at least $1 million

Dec. 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Far more U.S. congressional races broke the $1 million mark in campaign contributions in 2008 than a decade ago, a watchdog group says.

The non-partisan group Democracy 21 says nearly half of the 2008 Congressional contests had candidates raising $1 million or more, about two-thirds more races than was the case in 1998, USA Today reported Monday.

The rising costs of running for Congress benefits the incumbent and damages the cause of democracy, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer told the newspaper, saying, "Unlike the stock market, the cost of campaigns doesn't go up and down. It is a straight growth curve."

The group said 55 U.S. Senate candidates and 364 House candidates raised at least $1 million this year, 63 percent more than in 1998 and 8 percent more than last year. The median cost of a U.S. Congressional campaign also passed the $1 million mark for the first time, up from $690,000 in 1998, the group said.

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