Polis’ tab: $266 per vote | VailDaily.com

Polis’ tab: $266 per vote

Tracee M. Herbaugh
Rocky Mountain News

Jared Polis spent at least $5.3 million ” or $265.77 per vote ” to win the 2nd Congressional District.

And that didn’t even buy him a landslide.

The Center for Responsible Politics, a non-profit political research group, said that the three-way race to be the Democrat nominee Eagle County’s seat in Congress ranks as the most expensive quest for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in the nation, totaling more than $9.5 million.

Polis ranks among the organization’s top “self-funders,” or candidates who fund their races with their own money. The $5.3 million is what he had spent through July 31, the lastest reporting period, and it set a record for most expensive primary race in state history.

Polis is on track to outspend Republican Vernon Buchanan, who invested $5,450,000 in 2006 to win a seat in the U.S. House.

“Money is a factor ” it can be a key factor,” said Bob Loevy, a professor of political science at Colorado College. “Much of the time when there’s a candidate with a preponderance of money that candidate wins, but it doesn’t always happen.”

Even outspending a candidate more than 2 to 1 doesn’t ensure you a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2002, Democrat James Humphreys spent almost $7.8 million of his own money in a House race in West Virginia, only to lose.

“I said before the race we were going to see whether $5 million would be enough money to overcome Joan Fitz-Gerald’s previous political experience, her extensive experience in the legislature, her leadership role there, and the final answer was just barely,” said Loevy.

Polis’s 19,942 ballots, or 41.7 percent of the vote, were about 1,800 votes ahead of Joan Fitz-Gerald.

Denver-based pollster Floyd Ciruli said even a multimillionaire has “to be an acceptable candidate,” but a seemingly bottomless war chest can certainly help with access to voters.

“You can look around at other places in the country where people with more money and particularly self-financing millionaires do not win, but in this race it had to be the most significant factor,” Ciruli said. “Before that money, I think it would have been Ms. Fitz-Gerald’s race.”

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