It cost more than $204 million to fill the 435 House seats in the November election, with incumbents - almost all of whom won - trouncing opponents in donations, spending and political action committee money, according to a study.
The report Monday from Common Cause, a self-styled public interest group, showed that the 789 candidates who ran for the House in the general election raised $240.9 million and spent $204.3 million. PACs contributed a record $99.6 million.In all areas, incumbents ran roughshod over challengers.
The 408 incumbents in the election raised $174.2 million, of which $82.1 million came from PACs, and spent $141.8 million, the study found. The 328 challengers, meanwhile, raised $38.9 million, of which $9 million came from PACs, and spent $36.4 million.
The 53 candidates who sought open seats raised $27.7 million, $8.4 million from PACs, and spent $26 million.
Eventually, 98.6 percent of House incumbents were re-elected - an extremely sore point for Republicans, who have been stuck in the minority in the House for years and, since most lawmakers are usually returned to Washington, have been unable to make any significant progress. Currently, Democrats hold a 258-174 edge in the House, with three vacant seats.
However, although Republicans complain about the status quo, the Common Cause report showed that GOP incumbents also enjoyed significant benefits. While Democratic incumbents enjoyed a more than 5-1 ratio in money raising over challengers, GOP incumbents had a more that 4-1 ratio lead in that department.
A Federal Election Commission summary of House and Senate races showed that the GOP raised $263 million and spent $257 million, while Democrats raised $128 million and spent $122 million.
The Common Cause study found that 18 House candidates - including 11 incumbents, three challengers and four open seat candidates - each raised more than $1 million.
They were led by Rep. Robert Dornan, D-Calif., who raised $1.7 million and won. However, in third place was Rep. Joseph DioGuardi, R-N.Y., who raised $1.4 million and lost.