Huge price tag comes with candidacy

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SALT LAKE CITY -- How much money does it take for political candidates to fly across the country for events or run TV commercials?

The amount of money spent on the presidential, U.S. House and U.S. Senate races combined in Decision 2012 totals $6 billion, with $2.5 billion spent between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama alone.

It was spent on commercial advertising, travel, fundraisers, and generally anything else that would sway people at the polls.

Voter Ebert Hongo said, "Is it because they think they have to convince people to vote for them? I mean, why do they have to spend that much money? You would think people would know what their ideology was."

Other voters in Salt Lake say it's worth it. The politicians are the ones in charge of the country.

Terri Frandsen said, "I think elections are really important and I think they need to raise awareness."

Here are some comparisons for the $6 billion.

  • City Creek Center cost an estimated $1.5 billion to construct and took years to build. Major political campaigns spent four times that amount in the past six months alone.
  • You could pay for the I-15 CORE Project nearly three times over. And if you like cold hard cash, every Utahn would be entitled to a check for more than $2,000.

Economist Scott Schaefer says it's like the Cold War with money instead of missiles.

"What we're seeing right now is a lot of spending on elections and not much happens. What we saw in the 1970s and ‘80s was a lot of spending on nuclear arms development and not much happening," he said.

In the newly created 4th Congressional District, Mia Love's campaign got funding from the National Republican Party. Incumbent Jim Matheson sees his campaign spending tons of money, and he goes to his war chest.

Historically, some candidates literally spend their last penny to stay in the spotlight.

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Andrew Wittenberg


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