General Category > Midterm Elections 2022

What Does It Cost to Buy a State?


Powerline 4/3/2023

Not as much as you might think, my colleague Bill Glahn writes at The conventional wisdom is that in the 2021-22 election cycle, dollars spent on behalf of Democratic candidates in Minnesota exceeded Republican dollars by a factor of around ten to one. The disproportion in spending by the parties themselves was even greater, more like 18 to one. The Democratic Party is awash in cash, it seems.

But how much did the Democrats actually spend?

    It’s surprisingly cheap to purchase the politics of a mid-sized state in flyover country.

    Now that all the campaign finance reports are in for 2022, we can add up the cost to purchase Minnesota’s state government. The total rings in at about $92 million, give-or-take a few million. And all 10,000 lakes are included.

The bulk of the dollars are reflected in this chart. Because campaign entities pass money around among themselves freely, Bill went to considerable pains to eliminate duplicate dollars:

The remaining dollars come from a realistic assessment of what was spent on 201 Minnesota House and Senate races.

Most of the big Democratic contributors are unions or other entities whose ultimate contributors we can’t trace, but we know that a high percentage of the money spent by the DFL party in Minnesota comes from out of state donors. Number one on that list is Alida Messenger, our ex-governor’s ex-wife, a New Yorker, who contributed at least $2,980,300 to Minnesota Democrats in the most recent cycle. There is no Minnesota Republican (let alone an out of state Republican) who spends that kind of money.

So it only cost the Democrats around $92 million to buy an average-sized state. As Bill points out, that is a bargain price:



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