Dead man walking

By AL DIAMON  |  January 18, 2012

How much easier to do nothing, since that effectively renders the public-funding option dead.

Once the revision is approved, a candidate for the Blaine House could qualify for a flat $600,000 in Clean Election cash. That's nowhere near enough for an effective statewide campaign, so nobody who's serious about winning would take that deal. Instead, they'd go the privately funded route because it has the potential to produce enough loot to lead to victory.

The only campaigns foolish enough to take public money would be those of fringe candidates, who'll figure it gives them a bigger budget than they'd otherwise be able to extract from the pocketbooks of their far-from-numerous followers.

Not only will this change result in the end of meaningful public funding of gubernatorial races, it'll also signal a major change in how legislative candidates use Clean Election funds. About four out of five state House and Senate hopefuls took taxpayer money for their campaigns in 2010. Expect that to drop significantly this year, as candidates facing serious challenges examine both how much cash they can raise privately and how much more could be injected into their contests by political action committees. Even with the new limits, it might be worth settling for a $5000 check for a House race or a $21,000 one for a potential senator if the recipient is confident PACs are prepared to pump many times that amount into their campaigns as independent expenditures.

Of course, that money will be anything but "Clean."

Because no matter what the buried corpse keeps insisting, that concept is anything but alive.

Eulogies may be emailed to me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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