Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Campaign Costs

The costs of running a campaign are truly enormous these days. I remember my first run for land commissioner in 1982 when I expended about $25,000 in the primary election and another $50,000 in the general election. Think of it, a statewide campaign for 75K. That money bought a lot in those days. You could buy all of your printing, radio, TV and mail costs for that. Additionally, I bought one of the first commercially available small computers for about $5,000. It was a Radio Shack computer about as big as a desk. I think I was the first ever candidate in New Mexico to invest in this technology for a campaign. It really paid off.

Those kinds of costs are a thing of the past. While computers are certainly a lot cheaper everything else has gone up in price five or six times. Most of the printing has to be done in full color now or you risk looking second class. Television commercials, if the stations will allow you to buy airtime, are $1500 for a spot in the news.....and it goes up from there. You can buy on cable systems much cheaper, but you have really limited exposure although it can be focused towards a certain demographic niche. Postage, according to Google, in 1982 was 18 cents. Now it is 39 cents and probably the lowest inflation item on the list.

So, the costs spiral ever upward and the donations must be pursued more agressively. You wonder how long this can go on. Public financing might be the only answer.

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