By the time the last commercial in this year’s U.S. Senate race airs sometime Tuesday, that’s how much will have been spent on the Kentucky election.
That’s not a typo, either.
It’s an outrageous amount of money that for the past year and a half has been used to tell us largely four things:
Mitch McConnell has been in the Senate for too long and it’s time to bring him home. And he’s a bad person.
Alison Lundergan Grimes is a whole lot like President Barack Obama. And she’s a bad person.
Now with all due respect to my friends in the television industry whose employers saw this election as a huge cash cow, it’s a ridiculous amount of money that could have been spent in much more noble pursuits than making voters think the worst of one’s opponent.
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Strike that. It’s an obscene amount.
That’s about half of what the WHAS Crusade for Children has raised in total during its entire 61-year history.
It would build about 1,000 Habitat for Humanity homes in Louisville.
It would pay to operate the Cabbage Patch Settlement House for the next 44 years, if invested properly to merely keep up with inflation.
When it’s all accounted for, McConnell will have raised and spent some $30 million on the election by the time the polls close.
Grimes will have spent about $20 million.
And outside groups will have spent somewhere around $30 million — about $20 million of that coming from two groups tied to former McConnell aide Scott Jennings.
The Center for Responsive Politics reckons that $78 million had been spent by the middle of last week and that doesn’t count the millions of dollars in “issue” ads that are intended to influence the race but aren’t counted in the total because they don’t expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate.
It will be among the most expensive U.S. Senate races in U.S. History and it will happen in one of the nation’s poorest states.
The $80 million being spent is more than the amount of money that every man, woman and child in Robertson County, Kentucky, combine to earn over a two-year period.
It’s $50 for every vote that is expected to be cast next week.
A week before the election, Eric Burse chats with C-J political reporter Joe Gerth about the latest Bluegrass Poll numbers.
The price tag in Kentucky has certainly been increased by the fact that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is the Senate’s minority leader and a key target for the Democrats but other races tell us this is not the anomaly.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, $113 million has been spent in North Carolina and $94 million has been spent in Colorado.
In fact, more than $50 million has been spent in each of seven Senate races this year.
In Kentucky, the number is $80 million.
It almost makes you want to pledge your vote to the candidate who raises ridiculous amounts of cash and gives it away to the people who really need it.
Joseph Gerth can be reached at (502) 582-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His mailing address is 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, KY 40201-7431. Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Gerth.