Now that outside groups can spend unlimited amounts on independent advertising, candidate fundraising means even less. Last year in Colorado, when Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet first sought election after his 2009 appointment, he raised and spent $11.5 million while Republican Ken Buck raised and spent almost $5 million. Yet outside organizations dwarfed both candidates' campaigns; Democratic groups spent $13.2 million on Bennet's behalf and Republican groups spent more than $14 million for Buck.
In 2010, outside groups spent more than $10 million per state on Senate races in Nevada, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, Missouri, and California, according to data compiled by The Hotline and the Center for Responsive Politics. The average member spent $1.44 million to win his or her House seat; in 38 districts, outside groups spent more, according to the center's data.
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