In January, we wrote an editorial detailing the advantage an incumbent politician has over a challenger - in monetary terms.
Back then, we wrote that according to the Center for Responsive Politics:
"Through Dec. 30, 2011, 25 incumbent senators seeking re-election have raised a total of $166,522,345. Seventy-one challengers have raised $34,053,534.
"That means the average incumbent senator has a money advantage of over $6,000,000 over the average challenger - $6,660,894 to $479,627. Not a bad starting point.
"In the House of Representatives, 421 incumbents seeking re-election have raised $240,041,241. Challengers - 266 of them - have raised $29,497,630. So the average incumbent has raised $570,160, the average challenger a mere $110,892."
We'd like to update you on those numbers. According to the Federal Elections Commission, through Thursday, those 25 incumbent senators have now raised $206,899,950 - or an average of $8,275,088 each. They have 114 challengers who have raised a total of $79,160,915 - $694,394 each on average.
That means the advantage for incumbents has grown to more than $7.5 million. That's a big difference.
On the House side, 417 incumbents are now seeking re-election. They have raised $405,329,967 - or an average of $972,014. Their 650 challengers have raised $88,503,199 - just $136,159 each. Again, the incumbent's monetary advantage has leapt ahead of any challenger.
So, politics is, indeed, a big money game. The troubling question is just what do the big donors expect for their money? The more troubling answer is whatever that expectation, they believe our incumbent representatives are delivering it.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.