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Self-Financed Campaigns

Paying to Play: Who Spent Their Own Bucks on a Campaign?

Now that Ralph Nader's renaissance has sprung the siren-call of a Bloomberg campaign to everyone's lips, it's worth a trip down memory lane — who raided their own piggy banks for a self-financed play for office?

Radar made a list and checked the bank statements twice. Who can forget the 1992 splurge of the granddaddy of self-financing, Ross Perot? But did you know he shelled out $71.2 million for a price of $2.56 per vote?

That's not the most expensive run though — that honor rests on Blair Hull, who ran for US Senate in Illinois in 2004 — against Barack Obama. Oh noes! Mr. Hull sank $28,658,890 million in at a cost of $213.15 per vote. Oh, for context, it wasn't necessarily Obama's brilliance that sunk his campaign. Most think Hull's ship sank after some nasty, terrible details of spousal abuse came out when his divorce papers were unsealed. Turns out you can't buy off public record. . .

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Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
clinton put $5 mil of her own in not long ago. one of the first rules of campaigning is that you don't do that. you need a strong base of support and if you need your own funds it's usually a bad sign. and yet the race is so close, and there were so many primaries so close together i don't think she had much choice. i don't think a dem can win this. the dems are going to sink each other and deplete their war chests. and the last rep standing will walk in.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I still have my "ross perot for president" bumper sticker.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
Ah, good ole Ross Perot. I was only 10 when he ran, but I will never forget those ears!
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
Oy vey. What happened to the good old days when the candidates considered it undignified to actually put themselves out there?
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
ok, I'm finished.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Can I finish? Can I finish?
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