Money in Politics

State of Democracy's coverage of campaign finance and the role money is playing in the 2016 New Hampshire primary and beyond.

Every four years, New Hampshire Primary candidates and their supporters buy up hours of commercial time on local TV in hopes of attracting potential voters.

But, this year, all the advertising has not translated into more support, especially on the Republican side.

NHPR’s digital reporter Brian Wallstin has been tracking the primary-ad war and he’s giving NHPR's All Things Considered the lay of the land.

So, here we are – a little more than two months before the primary. Are viewers sick of all the political ads yet?

Compared to some of his rivals, Marco Rubio hasn’t been seen much in the Granite State, either in person or on TV.

That’s about to change.

The superPAC backing Jeb Bush seemed to have everything it needed. It went into the primaries with the most money by far. Right to Rise USA had raised $103 million by June 30, with plenty of help from Bush before he officially announced his candidacy and could no longer legally ask for big contributions.

In September, Right to Rise put the money to work, announcing it would buy $24 million worth of TV ads in the first three nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Recent polling shows that many Americans in both political parties agree that it’s a serious problem. But while they are unhappy with the influx of big money donors into elections made possible by the Citizens United ruling, they also seem pessimistic about changing the system. Still, some have made this a top priority, claiming that meaningful campaign finance reform is essential to a healthy democracy.

GUESTS:

NHPR Staff

A new report gives New Hampshire a relatively low grade on government transparency and accountability.

Last week we examined the campaign money landscape in the New Hampshire Primary, both how candidates are raising money in the state, and how they're spending it.

But what do those dollars mean against the national campaign fundraising picture?

Presidential candidates boosted their spending in New Hampshire this summer, spending nearly six times as much as they did in the previous three month period.

The Republican and Democratic candidates doled out nearly $2 million across the state from July to September. The vast majority of that cash, however, went to a small handful of Republican operatives and consultants -- and the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Turn on the television in New Hampshire these days, and you won’t have to wait long before Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Chris Christie pops up on your screen. 

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

It's one of the more, shall we say, parochial questions presidential candidates have faced on the campaign trail this year: What do you think of the proposed gas pipeline that may be routed through New Hampshire?

The pipeline is officially known as the Northeast Energy Direct Project.  And the question of whether it should run through the southern part of the state has been posed to a number of both Republicans and Democrats, including Jeb Bush. 

Republican donors in New Hampshire are beginning to loosen their purse strings for their party’s primary contenders.

Granite Staters contributed more than $220,000 to GOP presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. That’s $70,000 more than Democrats took in, and a big change from earlier in the year, when Republican candidates were out-raised in New Hampshire by a two-to-one margin.

Political candidates send lots of emails as the end of a fundraising quarter approaches. New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta is no exception – though there’s a bit more to his story than what’s in the message.

Craig: Elen Nivrae via Wikicommons/CC; Sanders: Chris Jensen, NHPR

Here’s an unusual question to ask during presidential primary season: What does Daniel Craig, the actor who plays James Bond, have to do with Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders?

Jason Moon for NHPR

Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig became the latest candidate to enter the Democratic side of the 2016 presidential campaign today. Unlike other candidates in the race, he is running on a single issue: getting big money out of politics.

It’s a familiar scene: Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign has a meet and greet at a lumber yard in Wentworth. Nitsa Ioannides and Kerry Marsh stand behind a table, greeting guests.  Ionnides hands you a red CARLY For America sticker and a brochure; Marsh might recommend a yard sign.

Super PACS Dominate Early Campaign Advertising in N.H.

Sep 2, 2015

If you have any lingering doubt that Super PACs will play an outsized role in the New Hampshire primary, consider this: More than three quarters of the television advertising aimed at first-in-the-nation primary voters this year has been reserved not by candidates, but by independent political groups.

 Jeb Bush is getting all the millionaires, and Bernie Sanders is getting the small donors — those have been two prominent storylines in the 2016 money race for the presidency.

But what about everyone in between? The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Finance Institute released data on campaign fundraising, and it paints a fascinating picture — which we decided to make into a literal picture. Here's how the different candidates' donation patterns stack up to each other:

Kate Harper

Recent polls have Hillary Clinton trailing Bernie Sanders in the Granite State Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped New Hampshire Democrats from joining forces to raise money with the former Secretary of State.

N.H.'s Civic Health Could Use a Boost

Jul 30, 2015
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As hosts of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Granite Staters often claim a reputation for political sophistication and civic engagement. But a new report finds that relatively few residents are politically involved and, when Election Day rolls around, they are more likely to accept the status quo and stay home rather than cast a ballot.  

When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

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