With the cost of campaigns ballooning, political parties, and Republicans in particular, are increasingly turning to wealthy candidates who can fund their own bids. The only problem is that those self-funders generally lose.
The number of self-funded candidates rose from 78 in 1990 to highs of 223 in 2010 and 193 in 2012, according to an analysis by The Washington Times of candidates who financed the majority of their campaign costs. In previous decades, the partisan split was equal, but the recent rise has been fueled almost entirely by wealthy Republicans.
Yet the results aren’t encouraging.
Of 1,752 self-funded candidates in federal elections since 1990, only 42 have been elected — a success rate of just 2.4 percent.
“There are always some people that think they’ll beat those odds, and some will. But very, very few do,” said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics.
Last year saw prominent self-funder Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lose his state’s Republican Senate primary to Ted Cruz, and saw beer heir Joseph Coors Jr. run as the GOP’s nominee for a Colorado House seat, though the $3.5 million he spent from his own funds didn’t carry him to victory in November.