What does all that campaign cash actually buy? [Letter]

September 17, 2014

Much attention is being paid to the relative fundraising prowess of the candidates and their cash-on-hand advantages as the election approaches ("Howard developer's campaign contributions are cause for concern," Sept. 11).

But what does this really signify? If there were a direct correspondence between dollars raised and votes received, only millionaires would be holding office.

Where are the contributions coming from? From individuals who believe deeply in the candidate stance on issues? From businesses, unions and PACs seeking something in return for supporting the candidate? From the party machine?

With the size of campaign war chests reaching ever more obscene levels, how will all that money be spent? Will Howard County executive candidate Courtney Watson, for example, actually spend more than $644,000 in the remaining weeks of the campaign on mailers, TV spots and poll workers?

How many pounds of literature will end up in recycling bins? How many favorite TV shows will be dotted by repetitive 30-second ads? How many paid robo-calls will interrupt my dinner hour or clog my answering machine?

As one who is personally concerned about governmental fiscal responsibility, the nothing-succeeds-like-excess approach to campaign financing encourages me to devote more time to researching "underdog" citizen candidates. Their underfunded, grassroots campaigns are a breath of fresh air compared to the partisan machinations that have given us all the negatives of being a one-party state.

Susan Garber, Laurel

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