AP Review: Mass. Reps. 'Relying Heavily' On PAC Money

Congressional incumbents very rarely lose their re-election bids. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 85 percent of U.S. House representatives won re-election in 2010. And that percentage was a 30-year low for incumbents.

One reason for such high re-election rates is that incumbents often hold significant campaign cash advantages over challengers — a fact furthered by a new AP review, which finds that "Massachusetts congressional candidates are relying heavily on contributions from political action committees as they face campaigns in sometimes dramatically redrawn districts."

Here, for example, are the AP's findings on the redrawn 3rd Congressional District:

...Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas of Lowell has pulled in nearly $860,000 through the end of March, about 19 percent of it coming from PACs, while her Republican challenger, Jon Golnik, raised more than $80,000, with just $750 from PACs.

And Tsongas' percentage of PAC contributions is smaller than her seven House colleagues seeking re-election, who each have raised at least 42 percent of their contributions from PACs.

WBUR's political analysts touched on the advantages of incumbency on Morning Edition today, and Democratic analyst Dan Payne predicted that all eight seats with an incumbent running would result in successful re-elections.

Republican analyst Todd Domke slightly differed, looking at the 6th district — where the money race between incumbent and challenger is much closer — to predict that veteran GOP politician Richard Tisei will oust Rep. John Tierney.

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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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