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Tuesday
Oct262010

Have Political Parties Lost Their Campaign Mojo?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Non-party groups that have dominated the midterm campaign are about to eclipse national political parties in total reportable spending this election cycle, a review of Federal Election Commission data finds.

The milestone would mark an end to the supremacy of political parties in campaign spending compared to outside groups, possibly for the first time in history.

Non-party groups, such as the nonprofit U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the labor union American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, have spent roughly $205 million through Oct. 22, nearly surpassing the total spending by parties in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

Political parties have only spent $115 million in this election cycle, down 34 percent from what they spent in each of the past two election cycles. In 2008, parties spent double their non-party counterparts, and in 2006, they spent more than quadruple.

Brendan Glavin of the Campaign Finance Institute cautioned that the sizable disparity in spending between non-party and party groups this year could be misleading.

"It's not as if it's all new money in the campaign," said Glavin. "In the past, some of this money was already in the system, but it wasn't reported." He noted that disclosure requirements make it difficult to track the change.

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