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   How Much Does a House Seat Cost?

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7/11/2013 10:05 am

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Entered 7/11/2013, Updated 7/11/2013

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Winning a House seat in 2012 cost the victor on average twice as much as it did a quarter-century ago: about $1.6 million, compared with about $753,000 in 1986. That increase is striking, given that most House races are not as competitive as they once were. The rise in spending is concentrated in a relatively small, and shrinking, number of battlegrounds. The phenomenon is illustrated by a collection of data from the Campaign Finance Institute, part of a broader set released on Tuesday by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute. Republicans and Democrats hold a similar number of safe seats, so it is conceivable that the House could change hands each election, said Thomas E. Mann of Brookings. “Ironically, as competition for individual seats has declined, competition for the majority has increased,” Mr. Mann said. “And we’ve had more turnover than we had before.”


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