By Johnny Kampis | Watchdog.org
CULLMAN, Ala. — Show me the money, and I’ll show you the winner.
Not only did Republicans win all six statewide races in Alabama in the general election, but they also far outraised their Democratic opponents.
GIFT-WRAPPED ELECTION? Those who raised the most money in political races dominated the 2014 general election in Alabama, and nationwide.
In fact, the money landslide was much greater than the difference in vote totals. Many GOP members won their races by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, such as Gov. Robert Bentley, who defeated Democratic challenger Parker Griffith — 64 percent to 36 percent. The incumbent outraised his foe $5,867,549 to $109,892.
That’s a difference of more than 50 to 1.
Pete Qwist, research director for the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks election spending, said you can almost predict the winner of many national races before the votes are counted simply by following the money — most of it tends to go toward the eventual winner.
His analysis found that candidates garnering the most contributions in a race won about 75 percent of the time across the country in the Nov. 4 election. The disparity was greater in red states that saw large GOP gains at all levels of government.
“In states like in Alabama, where one party dominates, the percentage is even higher,” Qwist told Watchdog.org.
Other Yellowhammer State races also saw highly skewed fundraising totals, according to data from the Money in State Politics’ website:
- Lt. governor: Incumbent Republican Kay Ivey’s $89,198 and 63 percent of the vote to Democrat James Fields’ $178,612 and 37 percent
- Attorney general: Incumbent Republican Luther Strange’s $2,583,653 and 59 percent to Democrat Joe Hubbard’s $1,650 and 41 percent
- Secretary of State: Republican John Merrill’s $271,309 and 64 percent to Democrat Lula Albert-Kaigler’s goose egg and 36 percent
- Auditor: Republican Jim Zeigler’s $70,680 and 63 percent to Democrat Miranda Joseph’s $13,606 and 37 percent
- Agriculture commissioner: Incumbent Republican John McMillan’s $198,660 and 65 percent to Doug Smith’s $0 and 35 percent.