Small state, big money: Candidates spent heavily in campaigns

Lisa Blunt Rochester

DOVER — Lisa Blunt Rochester spent nearly $1.4 million to win the state’s open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, data from the Federal Election Commission shows.

Rep.-elect Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, won a crowded primary and then topped Republican Hans Reigle and two minor-party candidates to become the state’s next member of Congress. It was her first bid for elected office.

Aided by a self-loan of $464,500, Rep.-elect Blunt Rochester pulled in $1.55 million from October 2015 to November 2016. A former state labor secretary, she received 56 percent of the vote last month.

Mr. Reigle, who earned 41 percent of the votes, raised $222,000, spending all but about $3,000.

WOMEN VOTE!, a political action arm of EMILY’s List, spent $178,000 in behalf of Rep.-elect Blunt Rochester before the primary. EMILY’s List is a group that works to get Democratic women who are pro-choice on abortion elected.

The new congresswoman paid out just over $500,000 to The Campaign Group, a Philadelphia firm that crafts ads for Democratic candidates. All but $177,000 of her spending came before the Sept. 13 primary election.

The second-place finisher in that hotly contested primary, state Sen. Bryan Townsend, raised $769,000 and spent $757,000 from September 2015 to September 2016.

Sean Barney, the Democrats’ 2014 state treasurer nominee, raised $772,000 and spent all but $1,000 of it. He was supported by the action fund of VoteVets.org, a group that backs left-leaning candidates who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The organization spent $192,000 advocating for Mr. Barney before the primary.

State Rep. Bryon Short, a Democrat who dropped out of the race in April, picked up $236,000 and spent $210,000.

Data for other candidates was not available, likely indicating they did not spend or raise more than $5,000.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.