Successful House candidates spent twice as much in the 2012 elections than they did in 1986, according to updated figures released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute.
The increase is particularly striking, says Sarah Wheaton at The New York Times, when you take into account the fact that "most House races are not as competitive as they once were."
How expensive is it to win a seat in Congress? Here is a look at campaign costs, by the numbers:
Amount spent (in 2012 dollars), on average, in 1986 House elections
Average amount winners spent in 2012
Average spent by 256 incumbents among 2012 winners who won re-election in safe districts (where they won with 60 percent of the vote or more)
Amount spent by their long-shot challengers, on average
Average spending by 100 swing-state incumbents in 2012 who held onto their seats with less than 60 percent of the vote
Amount spent by their challengers' campaigns, on average
Average spending by the 32 House incumbents who lost their re-election bids in 2012
Average spending by those ousted incumbents' victorious challengers
House members from "swing" districts in 1992 (defined as districts where the presidential race was within five percentage points of the national result)
House members from "swing" districts in 2012 (the most prominent reason for the change is post-Census redistricting, which governing parties have used to draw lines favoring their side)
Amount spent by the average winning Senate candidate in 1986 (measured in 2012 dollars)
Amount spent by Senate winners in 2012
Additional spending by Democrat-aligned super PACs in the 2012 general election season. These organizations are providing a growing infusion of outside money into key races, especially in swing states
Spending by Republican-aligned super PACs in the 2012 general election season
Spending by all other super PACs in the same period
Additional spending by Democratic party committees in 2012
Spending by Republican party committees
Total spending by 266 super PACs in 2012
Percentage of that money spent to oppose candidates
Amount spent to oppose President Obama in 2012
Amount spent to oppose Mitt Romney, Obama's Republican challenger
Sources: Brookings Institution, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Outside the Beltway, Sunlight Foundation
This article by Harold Maass originally appeared at TheWeek.com. Read more from TheWeek.com:
Is George Bush Returning to Politics?
What Happens if George Zimmerman Walks Free?
No, The Zombie Apocalypse Has Not Begun: How Hackers Infiltrated the Emergency Alert System