Friday, March 30, 2007

An argument for giving

A recent poll at Denver Politics revealed the paucity of campaign contributions by ordinary citizens. When asked how much money they would ordinarily contribute to their favorite City Council candidate:
  • 25% said $0
  • 25% said $1-49
  • 32% said $50-99
The results were a bit surprising, especially given the huge sums of money raised by presidential candidates. In 2004, George Bush and John Kerry raised an average of more than $230 million. In contrast, candidates for Denver City Council need only $50,000 to be viable for most competitive seats.

Contributions to Denver City Council candidates thus provide a much more dramatic effect on campaigns. A $500 gift could represent a full 1% of the candidate's funding.

Even a $100 contribution would be extraordinary. In order to have the same effect on a presidential election, you would have to contribute nearly a half-million dollars ($460,000)!

So unless you've got an awful lot of cash lying around, I'd suggest donating to a few Denver City Council candidates instead of sending it off to Barack, Rudy, Hillary, or Newt. You'll have a much greater effect on the election, and a direct effect on local questions which matter to you.

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