Money is pretty good predictor of who will win elections

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • 94 percent of biggest House race spenders won
  • 82 percent of biggest Senate race spenders won
  • On this Veterans Day, just 18 percent of the new Congress will have served in the military, down from more than 70 percent in 1971.

Can’t buy you love, but can buy you a duplex on Capitol Hill: We already know that the $4 billion spent on this midterm election was more than any other midterm in history. It was the most on congressional elections ever, including during a presidential year. What do the numbers really tell us? These two stats jumped out at us from a post-analysis done by the Center for Responsive Politics:
– 94 percent of biggest spenders in House races won, up slightly from 2012
– 82 percent of biggest spenders in Senate races won, up from 76 percent in 2012

What that means is, as one of us noted on NewsHour Monday night money, more specifically who spends the most, is about as good a predictor that there is of who will win a race. Those numbers, by the way, are pretty close to the incumbent reelection rates.

Top 5 most expensive Senate races overall:
North Carolina Senate: $113 million
Colorado Senate: $97 million
Iowa Senate: $85 million
Kentucky Senate: $78 million
Georgia Senate: $66 million

Top 10 most expensive Senate races per voter:
Alaska Senate: $121
New Hampshire Senate: $50
Iowa Senate: $39
Colorado Senate: $27
Arkansas Senate: $26
Kentucky Senate: $24
South Dakota Senate: $23
North Carolina Senate: $16
Montana Senate: $15
Kansas Senate: $14

Military service in Congress: The 114th Congress will be made up of 70 current members and 10 incoming members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have served or are serving in the U.S. military. Three of the incoming members are Democrats the other seven are Republicans. A number of veterans who are currently serving in the House decided to retire this year, and a small number lost re-election. Three incoming members of the Senate (two of whom are currently serving in the House) are serving or have served in the military — Tom Cotton, Gary Peters and Joni Ernst. There are currently only 13 members of the Senate who served in the military. In all, 96 members of the next session of Congress will have served in the U.S. military. That means that just under 18 percent of the new congressional delegation served in the armed forces. Note: This number includes one non-voting delegate from the Northern Marianas.

Fewer than one-in-five congressional lawmakers have served in the military: Compared to the 113th Congress, which began with 108 military veterans, the drop-off for the 114th Congress is only slight, but over the past few years each congressional delegation has had fewer veterans than the previous group — 16 percent of senators and 18 percent of representatives in the new class are military veterans or are currently serving. Jump back to 1971, when member military service was at its peak, veterans made up 72 percent of members in the House and 78 percent in the Senate. In 1981, that number dipped to 64 percent of members, but veterans still made up a majority of Congress.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day 1921, the Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia by President Harding. Who was president when Arlington Cemetery was established? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. No one guessed Monday’s trivia: No American president has served in the Marines, but how many have served in the military? The answer was: 26.



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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

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