Cost to be an RI lawmaker? $25K for Senate, $17K for HouseSeptember 21st, 2011 at 11:59 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
That’s according to New Harbor Group’s biennial survey of how much all the candidates for General Assembly raised and spent in their most recent campaigns (2010):
Historically, the leadership of both chambers raises and spends the most money, and that proved to be the case again in 2010. House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence) raised $142,000, and spent $117,000 last year. Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed (D-Newport) raised $111,000, and spent $131,000.
The average winner in either chamber spent significantly less than the leaders, however. In the Senate that number was $25,064, while in the House the figure was $17,308.
But even those figures are high in a surprising number of races. For instance, in the House, 25 members spent less than $10,000 to get elected, including five newcomers. And these weren’t easy races either – 18 of the 25 were against credible opponents who received more than one-third of the vote. In the Senate, ten Senators spent less than $10,000 to get elected, including three first-timers.
As for the lawmaker most in the news this week – Rep. Daniel Gordon, R-Portsmouth – he was among last year’s most frugal candidates, raising and spending $4,050. Only 10 of the 75 other winning candidates for the House spent less. Gordon’s opponent, Democrat George Alzaibak, spent $7,231 – 24th-most among the 70 who lost.
(Fun fact: David Preston, New Harbor Group’s founder and president, remains the last person to run a winning Democratic campaign for governor in Rhode Island – 19 years ago when he managed Bruce Sundlun’s 1992 victory, as RI NPR’s Scott MacKay has pointed out.)