1||This fall, Republican Meg Whitman became the biggest self-financing candidate ever, dropping over $140 million of her own money into her campaign for governor in California. As Steve Lopez pointed out on the L.A. Times blog Tuesday, that’s enough money to buy two medium Domino’s pizzas, each with two toppings, for every household in California.
Whitman, who used to be CEO of eBay, is hardly alone in her spending spree. Other candidates from around the country have also spent millions of dollars from their personal fortunes on political campaigns. On top of that, spending by outside political groups has hit an all-time high this year in the wake of the Citizens United ruling.
So, what else could they have bought?
Produced By: Jon Terbush and Evan McMorris-Santoro
2||Republican Carly Fiorina has spent upwards of $5.5 million of her own money on her Senate campaign in California. That’s enough money for the ex-CEO of HP to provide every resident of Salinas, California–hometown of American literary icon John Steinbeck–with an HP 45 black ink cartridge to print their own great American novel. || Carly Fiorina For Senate&&
3||In Connecticut, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) has dropped at least $41.5 million dollars of her fortune into the Senate race. For the same amount of money, McMahon could have bought two faux leather Rey Mysterio replica masks offered on the WWE online store for every man, woman and child in the state’s seven largest cities. The black and purple mask is ideal for casual days, while the blue and white mask is more suited for formal events, such as the symphony or Senate inaugurations. || Linda McMahon For Senate&&
4||In Florida, Republican Rick Scott has bankrolled his gubernatorial campaign with about $70 million, enough to buy a personalized Mouseketeer hat for every Florida resident between the ages of 10 and 34, with enough left over for everyone over the age of 85, according to 2000 census data. || flickr.com/scottforflorida&&
5||The $4.3 million that Republican Ron Johnson has spent out of pocket so far in his bid to swipe Russ Feingold’s Senate seat in Wisconsin is enough to buy two and a half pounds of Widemar’s Cheese Cellars’ American Cheese Society 2010 award-winning eight-year-old cheddar — at $16.99 per pound — for every single person in Green Bay. || flickr.com/ronjohnson2010&&
6||As for spending by outside groups, one of the biggest players has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The $75 million dropped so far by the Chamber on various races could have instead bought two cigars per day for every Fortune 500 CEO … for eight years. And not just any cigars, but Cigar Aficionado’s top ranked cigar of 2009, the $25 imported Nicaraguan, Padron Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro. || store.tobaccolocker.com&&
7||The Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies have spent at least a combined $65 million this year. Though some of the groups’ donors insist on remaining unknown, what is known is that all that cash could be spent on American Flag lapel pins for the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and 1 million immigrants who legally entered the country last year, with enough pins left over to outfit all legal immigrants to the U.S. through 2032. || Newscom/Zumawire&&
8||Unions are spending big this year too.
The American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees has spent more than any other outside group this cycle, dropping a total of about $87.5 million. Based on 2008 statistics, that money could have bought “Paid” rubber stamps for nearly every full time federal employee. || Wikimedia&&
9||The SEIU has spent at least $44 million, or enough to buy 3.7 million pairs of Dr. Scholl’s gel insoles. Just think: right now, all 2.2 million SEIU members could be gellin, with enough pairs left over for almost everyone to line a second pair of shoes as well. ||walgreens.com/store&&
10||The National Education Association has spent about $40 million, enough to buy about 194 million apples at an average going rate of $0.66 per pound. ||Wikimedia&&
11||John Raese, the West Virginia businessman, has put at least $2.4 million of his own money into his bid for the Senate seat once held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Raese, who warned that the U.S. must build 1,000 space lasers to protect itself against missile attacks, could have instead purchased a totally awesome $400 Lego Death Star kit for all but 300 people between the ages of 10 and 19 in Charleston, West Virginia. || flickr.com/JohnRaese4SSenate