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Midterm elections will cost at least $3.7 billion, Center for Responsive Politics estimates

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With Democrats battling to keep control of both chambers of Congress and Republicans eager to make gains, the money race is fast underway for 2010’s federal midterm elections.

By the time that every dollar is spent and every check is cashed, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates the cost of the Nov. 2 contests will be more than $3.7 billion.

“With so much on the line, the outpouring of big money into federal campaigns looks likely to continue at a brisk pace,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. “Additionally, the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission could precipitate millions more in spending by special interest groups looking to advance their own agendas.”

This prediction is a conservative estimate that includes spending by U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates and political parties. It also estimates spending by so-called 527 committees and independent expenditures on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts by outside political action committees to support and oppose candidates.

It does not include a projection for how much money could come directly from corporations, unions, trade associations or other special interest groups in advertisements stemming from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that reversed the ban on independent expenditures by corporations. These groups are now free to spend unlimited sums on such advertisements — and there is no precedent on which to base an estimate of how much money corporations and organizations will spend through this new political money mechanism.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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