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Outside groups dominate 2010 campaign spending

Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District – a bellwether district in a swing state – leads the nation in spending on political ads by outside groups not required to disclose their donors.

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U.S. Congressional candidates, Republican Ryan Frazier, left, and incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter argue over issues during a debate at KBDI television in Denver on Oct. 14, 2010.

Matt McClain/AP

About these ads

A snarling dog rushes the front door, but GOP House challenger Ryan Frazier, campaigning house to house, is more concerned about defusing attack ads flooding the zone in the last hours of the 2010 race.

“I’m a military veteran, husband, and father of three; served five years on the city council; cofounded the High Point Academy,” he says. “And all those ads you’ve seen about me? None of them are true.”

Across town, incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) has just won his fight to get an attack ad by an outside group – falsely charging that he favors giving Viagra to sex offenders – off the air. The ad was dropped, but it’s not clear whether voters were influenced by it.

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Colorado is off the charts in terms of outside ads and money,” he says, before heading out door-to-door himself. “The amount of money spent is pretty unbelievable, and the ads are consistently false. It’s made it a very difficult campaign.”

It’s a complaint heard by candidates on both sides of the aisle across the nation this year. But Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District – a bellwether district in a swing state – leads the nation in spending on political ads by “dark” outside groups, not required to disclose their donors.

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